Pidgin for the group's chosen instrument, the steel-string acoustic guitar
A subversion of the orthodoxy in the guitar's native jazz/blues/rock tradition
Looking and sounding better than ever, Rattle’s first release was remastered, repackaged, and reissued to celebrate twenty years as NZ’s preeminent art-music label in 2011.
Exuberant and life-affirming, the music of Gitbox Rebellion is as fresh and compelling as ever. Igor Stravinsky meets Pete Townshend, only to find they have a lot in common.
Gitbox Rebellion (1991):
Nigel Gavin, Kim Halliday, Jonathan Pease, Robert Hall, Tom Hanrohan, Tim Bowman, Russell Hughes, Tim Gummer, Wes Prince, Bodie Hermans and Robert van der Laan
Directed and arranged by Nigel Gavin
Produced and engineered by Tim Gummer
Executive production by Keith Hill
Cover artwork by Graham Gash
Booklet photo montages by Steve Garden
Reissue design by UnkleFranc
Reissue mastering by Steve Garden
Released: 01 July 1991
Gitbox Rebellion emerged blinking into the public spotlight in 1988. Previously instigated by Nigel Gavin as a workshop for players of mixed experience, the group quickly outgrew its original brief. Technique improved rapidly, the pieces became more complex, and Gitbox Rebellion, the performance unit, was born.
The guitar is not naturally endowed with either a vast dynamic range or timbrel variety, so some application was required to explore the sonic potential of the instruments. Various techniques were improvised, involving such esoterica as pipe-cleaners, coins, broken strings, and sticks.
The essence of Gitbox Rebellion's sound is textured wall-to-wall guitars, where the traditional acoustic character of the instrument remains fundamental. It's a touchstone when everything else about the music becomes unfamiliar, and the mild mannered acoustic character is extended to dynamic effect.
A major step forwards occurred when the group was exposed to Guitarcraft, a teaching and performance method developed by Robert Fripp. This not only helped to further develop technique, but also provided a philosophical focus, where each player became more conscious of the need to "let the music speak.'
Composing material for the band originally came about in response to a lack of repertoire, but soon became integral to the musicianship of many members. While opportunities exist for improvisation, the pieces are largely tightly structured.
Although it acknowledges the importance of its South Pacific location, Gitbox Rebellion offers few musical tags to make this locale immediately obvious. The themes reflect the group's international outlook, yet a distillation of influences emerges which could only have occurred on an out of the way island at the end of the earth.