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Wish You Were Hear: Strange goings on at the Timeball


Sun 21 Feb 2010, 1:00pm–2:00pm

Where: Lyttelton Timeball Station, Reserve Tce, Banks Peninsula

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • General admission: $10.00
  • Additional fees may apply

Listed by: helen greenfield

As part of the Lyttelton Summer Street festival, the Timeball Station hosts a performance of experimental music, which begins when the timeball drops at 1pm on Sunday, 21 February.

Wander around the Timeball and explore the simultaneous performances as they take place on all four floors of this historic building.

Performances by Peter Wright, Stanier Black-Five, and Hot Solder will include recordings taken from the Timeball Station itself, home-made synthesisers, plus one or two surprises.

The audio work of Stanier Black-Five regularly fuses live electronics with environmental recordings and found sounds – from mesmerising aircraft drones to the pounding rhythms of trains. As well as playing throughout New Zealand, Stanier Black-Five has taken her visceral performances to the UK and Europe, playing at events such as the London Musicians Collective’s annual festival of experimental music. She produces the Argot Records label and has had her music released internationally.

For the Timeball Station, Stanier Black-Five will develop a work based entirely on recordings taken at the Timeball. She will perform at the top of the stone staircase.

Peter Wright's sound works are predominantly based around drones and repetition, layering fragments of guitar in mesmerising fields of drift, conjuring up aural landscapes that place emphasis on sub-conscious memories and dreams. Weaving amongst this dense undergrowth are a myriad of tonal shifts, environmental recordings, and electronic effects, which evoke alien spirits at the periphery of sleep. Wright has recorded extensively during the last decade, releasing his tenth CD in late 2009, and has performed for audiences in the USA, Europe, and the UK.

Appropriately stationed in the Navigation room on the third floor of the Timeball Station, Wright will map out the dissolution of time itself with improvised drones, chiming overtones, site-specific recordings, and the ghostly chants of long dead seafarers.

Hot Solder is an ad hoc group who play improvised music on their home-made synthesisers. The group came to be as a result of a community education night class in electronics in 2008 and 2009. It has since progressed to clandestine gatherings at locations dotted around Lyttelton Harbour. They last performed on a tram in Christchurch as part of the Trambience series in 2009. Hot Solder will occupy the first floor of the Timeball.

Lyttelton’s Timeball Station is a fine example of Victorian technology. Every day, the Timeball signalled when it was 1 p.m. to the ships in Lyttelton Harbour when the ball dropped from its mast on its stone tower. This visual cue enabled ships’ chronometers to be corrected to ensure accurate navigation. Built in 1876, the Timeball Station is today one of only five in the world known to be still in working order. It is a rare piece of maritime history, fabulously restored, and boasts spectacular views over Lyttelton Harbour.