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The diaTribe blog is our occasional take on life, the universe and everything. Observations on current affairs, the environment, politics, humour and music/gig reviews. Travel diary and extreme sports stories, along with the usual rants/raves are also chucked in for good measure.

July 2010
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Flip Grater: Poetry in Music

Flip Grater - NZ Singer/Songwriter

Television in New Zealand can be largely summed up in 4 words: seven channels of shite.

It’s full to the brim with loud, brash, unfunny American and Australian crap, interspersed with even louder and brasher ads for half-price sales at Harvey the Rabbit or some such, about every 10 minutes. It’s basically a noise factory that in a very short period of time leaves the viewer numbed to the seemingly endless flow of static it spouts.

I’m not really sure why I turned the TV on, during a dark and stormy night as I sat in a comfy armchair in front of the flickering embers of a cozy fire. I’d been reading a novel by the light of a solitary lamp and listening to the rain pounding on the tin roof, when I set my book down and flicked on the boob-tube, for no particular reason that I can recall.

What I heard was a track that made me sit up and listen. The song was called: Careful and the artist was Flip Grater.

With a distinctively smooth coffee-and-cream voice that is reminiscent of both Stevie Nicks’ vocal performance in Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams and Wire Daisies vocalist Treana Morris, Flip Grater has created a masterpiece of Indie subtlety in her new album While I’m Awake I’m At War.

Every aspect of the album speaks of craft; simple, clear guitar licks and a softly-played violin which carries the listener down a dark river. Minimal bass lines and a muted rhythm give the album a soft-spoken, melancholy sound that makes the heart ache and the mind reminisce and remember. The lyrics are intelligent, thought-provoking and meaningful.

It has a little bit of a country feel, but not of checkered-scarf-and-square-dancing ilk; instead it’s a more folk-like sound, which evokes images of windy Celtic landscapes and salty driftwood scattered over a long stretch of lonely, wind-swept beaches. It does make use of the much-maligned steel guitar in tracks such as I am gone, but the effect is more along the lines of Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game, which – coincidentally – followed on the TV almost immediately afterward.

Dark and evocative (as the best Folk music always is), but with a thin vein of light running through it (in tracks such as Bullet that I ride), While I’m Awake I’m At War is a superb arrangement by any measure and an absolute must for any fans’ collection.

Play it on a dark and stormy night, when the rain pours and the wind howls. Pour yourself a dram while staring at the embers of a dying fire…and (re)discover a sound that caresses the mind and heart, a sound that evokes thoughts and feelings…
Rediscover music.

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4 Comments for: Flip Grater: Poetry in Music

  1. Visitor Comment # 1
    Angie : (Visitor)

    Wow! Just visited the links and listened to a couple of the tracks. Nice!

  2. Visitor Comment # 2
    Lance Blake : (Visitor)

    Nice write-up. Like what I heard.

  3. Visitor Comment # 3
    Sharon Smith : (Visitor)

    Beautiful album and a good review

  4. Visitor Comment # 4

    Flip has announced tour dates – check them out!

Sorry, comments for this article (Flip Grater: Poetry in Music) are now closed.

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