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Dreams of Falling


"Dreams Of Falling holds a singular place in both Sandra Bell's discography and the evolution of New Zealand's underground music. Bell is a singer, songwriter and poet, currently residing in Auckland, New Zealand, who has been making records since 1984. Each one is marked by the place and time where it was made. The moody folk rock of Blackbirds, from 1986, expressed the anxiety of existence in Auckland's inner city while City Of Sorrows, made over a decade later in Berlin, articulated the instability of expatriate life in post-reunification Germany. Dreams Of Falling was made in Dunedin during 1990-91, when many of the more aspirant Flying Nun pop crowd had abandoned NZ's South island. The Xpressway label had united the disaffected non-conformists left behind into a self-reliant cadre, and the LP's personnel reads like an Xpressway who's who. David Mitchell (Exploding Budgies, Goblin Mix, 3Ds, Ghost Club) and Bruce Blucher (Alpaca Brothers, Trash, Cyclops) contribute stone-powdering guitar to three tracks, Kathy Bull (Look Blue Go Purple, Cyclops) bass to two, and Alastair Galbraith (the Rip, Plagal Grind) keening violin to one more. Peter Gutteridge's (The Clean, Great Unwashed, Snapper) distorted keyboard is a defining presence on two more. But Peter Jefferies' (Nocturnal Projections, This Kind Of Punishment, Plagal Grind, Two Foot Flame, Cyclops) drumming, piano, guitar, and 4-track tape wizardry are by far the strongest shaping forces on Dreams Of Falling. The album constitutes a convergence of the unvarnished Xpressway sound world and poetic lyrical expression. Bell is a poet as well as a songwriter, so words matter, and she often uses them to articulate experiences of displacement and an accompanying sense of loss. Maori legend, Australian geography, urban blight, and local catastrophe -- 'Floating Aground' responds to the mass shooting at nearby Aramoana -- are all present in Dreams Of Falling. It is at once a deeply personal work and a nodal point, focusing the inspiration of predecessors like The Raincoats and This Heat and projecting it into a future where artists like Azalia Snail and Circuit Des Yeux pay close attention." -- Bill Meyer, May 2016