non-fiction rock from Aotearoa New Zealand

Posts tagged “Transit

Transit: The music video!

On Saturday 9 February, with the raising of 3 glasses of whisky, we launched the latest addition to the ongoing evolving collection of developments for the project we call TRANSIT.

This new addition is the music video to the song Transit developed in partnership with Wellington film maker and photographer, John Lake.

We wanted to approach the construction of this video as a collaborative flexible project, so  lots of the development happened online via Google Docs, alongside the regular meetings. This way we could continue to add ideas, bang thoughts around, and share provocations of how we thought the visuals could take shape.

After a day of filming raw band footage we came to the idea to crowd-source a choir for a specific section in the song. We created a call-out to interested people, and then waited for the responses to return to us. We collected twelve home-made clips in total, from as far afield as Sweden, Czech Republic, Okinawa, France, Australia, Auckland and Invercargill. We received more footage than could be actually be used but we loved what was sent, and we hope you are all happy with what we have done with your contributions. The actual graft work was all John, we were simply the unhuh?folk, the what if? folk, the how about? folk.

John, we want to say, “Huge  thanks and gratitude for your willingness, patience and inspiration”. Thanks also to Mark Leong for helping out with the space for the filming of the band.

THANK YOU to the following for contributing to the crowd sourced section:

  • David Edwards
  • Tao Well
  • Maurice Priestley
  • Jo Davidsson
  • Steve Dean and the Neuro ward staff
  • Los Black Dog
  • Chris Rankin
  • Hilary Binder
  • Katrena Kemp
  • Shaun Helmsley
  • Eric Boros
  • Marylise Frenchville & Ildiko
  • Emitir Snake-Beings
  • Blair Jones
  • Simon Hartman
  • Paul Harvey

Review of Transit in Dunedin

A bit behind the 8ball here, meant to post this a while ago but a bit distracted. This is a wonderful personal account of one persons experience of the TRANSIT exhibition in Dunedin for the recent Fringe Festival.

A massive thanks to Mark Tyler for the honest account

Crown Hotel 2012“This exhibition was held at the Glue Gallery as part of the Dunedin Fringe Festival. Mr Sterile Assembly were blown away to have recently received Creative NZ funding to record an album so decided they would send each song to various artists that would be interested in coming up with their visual interpretation of the song they received. This was the result.
The central theme was the way our culture has been moulded since 9/11, and the frightening extent to which the average citizen can now be spied upon. Our civil liberties have been eroded at an astonishing rate.
Each picture was spaced out around the walls and accompanied by the title and lyrics of the song it represented, carefully written in pencil. Mr Sterile then proceeded to discuss each one, lucidly explaining the depth of meaning behind the lyrics and a brief spiel about each artist. What started as a lively and informative performance for me soon gave way to the bleak and somewhat astounding personal revelation of how utterly coccooned i have become in my systemised way of thinking. Despite being aware of sweeping “big brother” reforms being passed almost weekly, i am happy to insouciantly accept each act with little more than a mild grumble in the work truck maybe. And it has nothing to do with paranoia or Orwellian hysteria, its just the most fundamental awareness of these changes, that stretches so much further than what is outlined and presented in the mainstream media. In short, this presentation shook me up like an educational earthquake. Rattled my brain a little. If performance art is supposed to provoke and stimulate, then Mr Sterile Assembly delivered in spades, taking each story so much further with humour, clarity and unswerving conviction, before playing us the music behind it. Skillful, original and slightly unsettling music that could loosely be tagged under the Punk Rock moniker, each song taking on a heightened significance when the lyrics were scrawled right in front of you.
Regretfully i couldn’t stay for the whole performance, justifying my early exit with having somewhere to be, i’d run myself out of time. But thats just a bullshit cop-out. I should have MADE the time available, just like i should take the time to delve a little deeper to increase my knowledge and understanding of the issues presented. At least make the effort instead of meekly pretending it doesn’t matter cos it won’t affect me all that much. It shook me up humans, shook me up.
Thankfully, i managed to obtain a copy of the CD which comes with two little booklets containing the lyrics of each song and their respective artworks, a permanent memoir of what i’d seen and heard, and more importantly, a personal little kick up the arse whenever i choose to slip back into the comfort and convenience of complacency. You could probably get yerself a copy by contacting:
The next day i got home and read in the paper that the new “Search and Surveillance Bill” had been narrowly passed in parliament by a majority vote of 61 – 57, opening the door for an unstoppable tsunami of control-driven “i spy with my little eye” type of activities. Jesus.

Footnote: great to see that Mr Sterile Assembly won the award for BEST VISUAL ART at the festival. Well deserved.”

CROWD SOURCING for the TRANSIT video project

We are in the process of an extensive video making project with the wonderful John Lake, and we would like to CROWD SOURCE some video material for the  song TRANSIT . More will be explained about the wider project at a later date.

On the song Transit between the point 3.31 and 3.59 there is a drop out section of vocals ONLY!

Here’s what we want you to do. On your computer camera, or any camera device you have, we want to you to add your voice, and more importantly , the moving image of your self singing along to the vocal-only section.The material we receive will then be added to the final edit.


I’m quite excited about the idea of using this crowd sourcing technique to help develop the project. It feels like an exciting way to reach out into the world, and who know what may be returned.

If you feel a bit nervous having your naked face on screen, we suggest you try and ‘sterilise’ your self in some way.

We don’t really have any gifts to offer in return for your efforts other than our gratitude, but we’ll have a think and maybe we can come up with something.

This is a no budget project, as in we have no money, lo-fi.

So please add your face and voice. The words are:
Man swallows, his own tail, open mouth expectant, waiting to swallow.
Women swallows, her own tail, open mouth expectant, waiting to swallow.

Go for it (if you wish to capture footage for other parts of the song then please do, no promises we will use it, but we might, and the more the merry in terms of footage to work with).

Back in TRANSIT: Dunedin Fringe Festival

Dunedin Fringe 2012Glue Gallery and the Dunedin Fringe Festival gladly welcome the Wellington based, Outsider Punk Duo ‘MR STERILE ASSEMBLY’ to Dunedin for a dynamic presentation of Music, Art, Performance and Stories.

Running from the 17th of March, with two live performances on the 23rd at 5:30pm and 24th at 3pm, this show brings together the eleven songs and the eleven art works that make up this new album”

We’re at it again. In a couple of weeks, we’ll wrap out bits and pieces in cardboard and send them by plane to that Southern city Dunedin for the 2012 Fringe. The art will hang for the week leading up to the performance’s on the 23rd & 24th.

Koha entry to the Glue Gallery for the talks.


Crown Hotel 2012An in addition to this will be TWO other performances. The first is on the Friday 23 March at The Crown Hotel, Rattray St, Dunedin.

Ourselves, along with a fine  gaggle of others, will be performing for those with a noisier persuasion. The line-up is epic, featuring Mince On Toast (Queenstown), Infinite Justice (Dunedin), Whiskey And The Wench (Dunedin), SkumHammer (Dunedin), Bazooka (Milton), Bolshy McBard (Twizel), & us!. Epic I tell you, epic.

Entry $6 8pm-ish kick off


Invercargill March 2012 UPDATE: Breaking news!!! Generic Hole from Invercargill will be gracing the stage with there two piece mayhem. Can I get a Hell Yeah!

On Saturday 24 March, after the afternoon talk, we hit the road and return to Invercargill!

Playing at the Players Bar, in the backroom, we entertain the locals with Bazooka, Bolshy McBard, Generic Hole & Mince On Toast.

$5 to get in, starts from 9

Hamilton Fringe Festival 2011

Hamilton Fringe Festival logo 2011We were being interviewed by National Radio on the release of our album Transit. As soon as the interview had finished an email flew into our inbox enthusiastically inviting us to attend the Hamilton Fringe Festival in response to our desire to tour and exhibit the original art we obtained for the album. And in classic fashion, we said ‘sure’ first… and then settled down to figure out the finer and fiddlier details.

Supported by our contact, Jo, who did the bulk of the leg work in Hamilton, we secured some funding so the art could be couriered to the festival, and a van hired to bring our equipment back and forth. So, thanks to Creative Communities and Creative Hamilton for supporting our endeavor.

As usual, plans expanded and we opted to get the exhibition to Hamilton a week early and Jo enlisted a crew of locals to adorn the gallery walls with the accompanying lyrics to the songs attached to the art.

As the itinerary firmed up, Jo got us a show in Raglan, a small tourist/surfing/coastal village about 30 minutes out of Hamilton. So it was to be Raglan on the Friday night, an artist talk and presentation of songs on the Saturday afternoon for the Fringe Festival, and then an all-ages show later that same evening: three shows in 24 hours.

MangawekaThe art left Wellington without a hitch, we simply had to wait the week before we departed the city.

The journey north was uneventful apart from a sweet detour into the village of Mangaweka, home of the C F Goldie museum. Here we visited old friends and told stories, learning a wonderful fact about Karl Sims/C F Goldie, the infamous art forger. Apparently Karl is considered to be the World’s eighth most famous art forger, and according to some ‘authority’ he would have been considered the best had he had a greater ‘sphere of influence’, e.g. not resided on an island at the bottom of the world, but somewhere with a far vaster population, like Europe, a bigger and more duppable citizenry.

On the road to RaglanBack on the road we made Raglan in good time. It’s a small town with a reputation of being reggae central. Anyway, we meet  our host for the evening, Dave, dropped our gear at the pub, set off the alarms in the pub, the door wasn’t locked, but no-one looked terribly flustered by, or worried about it. Then we headed out to Dave’s farm home for some food and rest after the long haul.

Dave’s farm view was spectacular, an incredible vista looking down out onto a northward curving coast, high and distant above the township.

Returning to the venue, the Yot club, we set up and met the local band playing alongside us, Frankie. It’s was a slow start to the evening as the rugby world cup had a game in Hamilton, just our luck, and almost the entire country is distracted.

After the match the place started to fill. Frankie started, a classic three piece, playing post-rock pop compositions and it sounded good. We came on and I think we surprised a few, the spectrum of expression  from ‘leave the venue’ to a wide- jaw smile, transfixed to our antics.

Hamilton Fringe Artist's talkRetuning to the farm after the show it’s the blackest Raglan night, a spectacular show of heavenly star-light, far from the incandescent street light of any city. It was a long day of journey and music, so whiskey then sleep.

Waking earlier on the Saturday, we returned to Raglan for coffee and nosh then made our way over to central Hamilton. Arriving around midday we set up our gear at the gallery and  get to see the exhibition hanging for the first time. And it looked great! Jo and her mates made a spectacular job of installing the show, we we’re particularly pleased with the way the text had been written on the wall’s around the art. The space was set, the gear ready, we put on our costumes and waited for the show to begin.

Hamilton Fringe Artist talk 2And they attended, not in droves, but an intimate 20 or so, and that’s ok because this is the first time we have actually put this concept to the test, e.g to tour and present an ‘artist’s talk’  about the relationship of this commissioned art to the context of the song text, and then finish off by a live presentation of the songs.

We decided to break the talk into two parts, chatting first then music, then repeat. And it’s was a mobile chat, we moved up and down the room selecting work’s of art to discuss, talking about the text to the songs and much of the background research involved in the writing of the lyric. Hamilton Fringe Artist talk 3

The interest is surprising. We paused mid-stream to ask if people are bored, would they like some music or more stories? “More stories” they reply.

It was a fascinating experience for us, and warmly reassuring, in that people are very committed to engaging in conversation and dialogue when the chance arrives. People like stories, to be informed of the detail behind an event, and to have the opportunity to ask questions. We were surprised we talked for as long as we did.

One person commented at the end that it was rare and wonderful way to explore art. He commented that usually events surrounding ‘Art’ mostly revolved around free alcohol and hummus, but ultimately one left with little more understanding of the work than when one arrived. And somehow this event was different, a perfect outcome.

VOIDShow over, the folk left, and we packed out. We took off for a bit of curry and down a couple of beers before soundcheck at VOID.

We play again with Frankie, and another local act called The Beautiful Shambles. It’s a great well resourced venue, with a lovely and helpful sound-man, a special breed.

The shows started late, as advertised, but is lite on audience. Out on the streets it’s quiet, again we get a sense this is in response to the rugby world cup. VOID entranceMany had paraded earlier in Welsh and Irish flags, we guess they are the teams playing locally (I’m secretly pleased that I still don’t actually know, I have managed to miss the inundation of rugby information, I am a genetically deficient kiwi obviously).

Great to see the local acts, committed and fun, thanks. We played a sweet set. It’s so nice to get to hear these songs through a nice sound system mixed well, thanks to again to the sound guy.

Show over, packed up and out. We stored our gear back at the gallery to collect in the morning, but to do this braved downtown-post-RWC Hamilton, drunken, macho, unpredictable, mini-skirted Hamilton. Here’s where all the people were, it’s lightly raining and the streets are laden with bodies loaded with alcohol and expectation. There’s little motivation to hang around, it’s an odd sight to see the inebriated bold male youth hanging off the bronze arms of the statue Riff Raff (Richard O’Brien) from the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Tea and toast and bed, that’s rock and roll.

Transit launch party video

Here’s a cut up from the Transit album launch party @ the Russian Frost Farmers in March. For Hamilton punters, it’s a glimpse of what’s coming your way.

Hamilton Fringe Festival Transit exhibition & gigs – Sept 30/Oct 1

Hamilton Fringe 2011

This year we are taking the TRANSIT exhibition to the Hamilton Fringe Festival. The art work will be hung for the week prior to the performance on October 1.

On October 1st, at 4pm, we are presenting an artists talk, discussing the content of the songs, the collaborative process, and any other odd bit of fluff we fancy to share. After the chatting, with will play for another 45ish minutes to round of the afternoon. There is no cost to attending this performance.

Later on that same evening, we are playing at the Hamilton venue VOID , it is an all ages show, with local act Frankie Mallet.

And to go back in time, we are also playing Raglan on the Friday, 30 September, at the YOT club. Again we shall have the pleasure of having Frankie Mallet and dj B.Rex grace the stage with their presence alongside our own. Entry $5, start time 10.30ish

Thanks to Creative Hamilton & the Hamilton Fringe for the effort in helping to make this show happen.

Review: TRANSIT: USA Blog – Sea of Tranquility

A progressive music blog from the USA have reviewed the album. Click HERE for the original link.

mr sterile Assembly: Transit

Transit album coverAfter reviewing music on Sea of Tranquility for more than 10 years (and even longer, if you count the now-defunct print version), I’ve heard some weird stuff. But I’ve got to say that Transit by mr sterile Assembly — an anarchist “outsider-punk noise experimental rock two-piece” from New Zealand — ranks up there with the oddest releases I’ve been asked to cover. This drums, bass and vocal duo consists of Chrissie Butler and mr sterile (of course), and they are assisted by a variety of other equally adventurous musicians, singers and lyricists. Cabaret jazz, carnival quirk, math rock and even hip-hop collide in a stormy cacophony of revolution.

But beneath the swarm of singing munchkins on “Jesus Heals the Blind” is a solemn anti-war message dedicated to “the growing list of the innocent and the dead,” and “Pop Sickle” is an ode to those “who resist the war,” with barely audible spoken-word lyrics set against a Violent Femmes-inspired beat. And the chaotic “Axe and the Olive Tree” is simply “for Palestine.”

Transit comes in an elaborate digipak with two thick full-color booklets that might have cost more to produce than the album, but the low-budget cover featuring the duo in straitjackets and Kabuki makeup sitting on an ugly green-and-brown couch is distracting. This music is certainly not for everyone; in fact, I doubt Transit will get much playing time after I slip it back into its fancy packaging. But I certainly can appreciate the boldness with which Butler and mr sterile approach — and execute — their art.

Added: June 14th 2011
Reviewer: Michael Popke

May Update:

Things have been quite quiet after our Australian tour. But things are not still for long. Here’s a head’s-up of things & events in the next couple of months.

Suhartono - Wayang puppet, circa 1980

We are currently in the middle of organising our return to south east Asia tour, the plan this time has settled, we have an basic itinerary and we shall be visiting Malaysia, Java, and back to Singapore. I will post dates as I get them confirmed. But it is great to be reconnecting with all those good people then, and brilliant to be making be contacts and I can’t wait  see/hear some great new SAE music.

Steve Ignorant - CRASS songs June 18 2011 Wellington NZWe are very fortunate to have the opportunity to help open the show for the Steve Ignorant – Crass Songs show. He is performing June 18 at Bodega in Wellington. Ignorant was one of the key founding members of the inspiring late 70’s till 1984 anarchist punk bands.  If CRASS is a name that does not mean much then I would recommend that some investigating be done, the albums Stations of the Crass, Christ the Album, and Penis Envy are astounding.

For all other shows please look  to your right of the screen for updated show information.

Chrissie preparing to be filmed for Eye of Night docoWe recently had the privileged to be filmed for a documentary film project by Dylan Herkes, chief magnate of Stink Magnetic. The filming project is documenting the phenomenal history of the venue Eye of Night in Whanagnui.

Quite favorable reviews of TRANSIT have  continued to come through. ConcertFM’s William Dart gave a favorable review HERE(it will only be up for a couple of weeks, not sure if they archive). NZ Musician have become interested in having an interview done with mr sterile about his drumming , expect that in the next month or two,  all other reviews will be included to the TRANSIT page.

Australian tour April 2011

mr sterile Assembly Australian tour poster April 2011

UPDATED TOUR DETAILS: mr sterile Assembly return to Australia for up to eight shows in nine days. A swift tour stopping to play with some of Oz’s finest noise makers. There are the complete details.

  • APRIL 15 FRIDAY: Venue: Black Wire- SYDNEY w/ Ya Aha, Crouching 80’s + Yes, I’m Leaving!. 7pm
  • APRIL 16 SATURDAY: Venue: Jake’s Hais – NEWCASTLEw/Cistern Corrupt, Scalps, Lenin Lennon + Drillbit
  • April 17 SUNDAY PUNK OUTSIDE #9 Venue: Steel Street, Marrickville: w/Slogan Free Youth + Black Vat Trio + No Such Luck + Michael Crafter[7″ launch] – start 2pm, FREE
  • APRIL 19 TUESDAY : Venue: Make it Up Club, Fitzroy- MELBOURNE – no songs, IMPROV
  • APRIL 20 WEDNESDAY: Venue: Bar Open, Fitzroy- MELBOURNE w/Fitzroy, Adam Simmons Vs Brian O’Dwyer, + Dead Ants
  • APRIL 22 FRIDAY: Venue: KOF Gallery 68 Pink Oak Cr, Flemington, Melbourne. w/Onion Engines + Sohei + Go Genre Everything!
  • APRIL 23 SATURDAY Live to air 3CR 2-4pm
  • APRIL 23 SATURDAY : VENUE: The Victoria: 380 Victoria Street, Brunswick : w/DEAD + Galactic Entertainment Ensemble

    These shows would not have been made possible without the fabulous help of Tenzenmen in Sydney, who has organised the Sydney CD release function. Big cheers to Even from Jake’s Hais in Newcastle. And in Melbourne Don at  Neumusak who has been key in organising two shows, Black Wire, Dave at KOF, Jem from DEAD for being super helpful, and the good folk from Go Genre Everything. Big thanks also to Garage Collective for the stunning image for the poster.

    See you there!. It will be a blast

  • 1st review for TRANSIT by Ghetto Punk Rocker(USA)

    1st review of new mr sterile Assembly album, Transit , HERE from the online mag Ghetto Punk Rocker, by John M. Ellison IV based in the US of A.

    Just got this album from one of my favorite New Zealanders, “Transit” by mr sterile Assembly. “Transit” is an album peppered with horns, bass, drums, vocals, unorthodox time signatures and more song structure changes than a politician with commitment issues. I would imagine most amateur and some seasoned drummers would get a wrist cramp by just even listening to this album! How can I put a label on an album like this? I can describe the overall sound of the album of being reminiscent of late 60’s mid 70’s era Frank Zappa, a funkier variant of Devo and an artier ska-punk sound with one of my favorite cuts off the album “I Robert.”
Readers, this is actually one of the rare reviews that are going to be less than 300 words because this album has left me speechless.

    Even though I enjoyed all 11 songs, I would say the choice cuts off of here would be compositions such as “Jesus Heals the Blind”, “I Robert”, “Stella”, “Axe and the Olive Tree” and the title cut, “Transit.”

    In closing, mr sterile Assembly’s album “Transit” is great for punks trying to get more into jazz or anybody in a Frank Zappa or Primus state of mind.

    Transit, the album

    Transit album cover

    Transit album cover

    Here is the story of Transit, the fifth album by mr sterile Assembly. There are links to individual pages with interactive lyrics. The story of how the album came into being, plus reviews, images, and any additional detritus associated with this release. cheers

    01. Hibakusha
    02. Jesus heals the Blind
    03. I Robert
    04. Whyt
    05. Pop Sickle
    06. March of the Fulfillmen
    07. Bug my Ride (revisited)
    08. Stella
    09. Drought
    10. Axe and the Olive Tree
    11. Transit

    Reviews: NZ Musician, Southland Times Invercargill, Seagull Chainsaw (AUS), Ghetto Punk Rocker(USA), Sea of Tranquility (USA), (NZ), LioncityDIY (SG), The Organ (UK)

    mr sterile Assembly album Launch, at The Russian Frost Farmers Gallery. Photo by Karen Melhuish

    mr sterile Assembly album Launch, at The Russian Frost Farmers Gallery. Photo by Karen Melhuish

    An introduction.

    Transit, the fifth album by mr sterile Assembly was released March 25 2011. The album took just over one year to complete from its inception point in late December 2009. The Assembly had recently complete a small Aotearoa NZ tour with the Czech group Uz Jsme Doma, in which an offer to the Assembly was made to tour Europe sometime in mid-2010.  Offers like this spawn plans, and one of these was a recording project.

    Two surprises in one day: dollars and departure.

    An application was made with CNZ for a recording grant, the idea to record the duo bass and drums unit, in preparation for the tour. However, and much to our surprise, the day the letter of astounding confirmation  of $$ came on the same day Sarsha Doulas decided to quit. The tour almost happened but due to personal reasons had to be abandoned at the eleventh hour.

    From band reproduction to project.

    This caused some serious rethinking on how to approach the project. What developed over the coming months was a growing project of fantastic proportions. We wanted to maintain the energy and feel of the twin bassists so we approach a sterile member from previous times, Aaron Lloydd, to plunk the strings. We knew he had a solid and creative understanding to our approach. Next we contacted another sterilite, Jeff Henderson, to add saxophone on a number of tracks, and Nell Thomas to add special tonal colour on a couple of tracks. Nell plays a a Javanese instrument called a Gender, and we felt this was a perfect instrument to add depth to a particular song, Stella, based on an story of some dear friends in that country.

    Mike Gibson was enlisted early on to the initial recording of primary bass, bass, drums track, and to mix and master the final collection of songs. Dean Hapeta aka Te Kupu became deeply woven into the development of the album. He offer Matakahi Studio to us so we could add all lyrics, additional sounds, and the sax tracks. During a number of conversations, we also came to the conclusion that there were spaces available that called out for extra words. Dean listened intently over months to lets the ideas grow, and his response to the challenge  of these four songs is spectacular.

    Inca studios and the NZSIS

    Working with Mike at Inca studios also took on a particularly delicious an ironic feel. When I first met Mike to discuss the project, he almost incidentally commented that the studio use to be the home of the NZSIS, the government security intelligence service. The main record room that we were situated in was the old safe, the home of all those secret files from years gone past of union activist, conscientious objectors from previous international armed conflicted, and any other ‘radical’ who opposed the government of the day. That we should find ourselves in this space, performing our songs about the governments attempts to survey citizens, of this countries role in international spy rings, and the police’s employment of a particular individual as a failed covert spy to protest activity couldn’t be more perfect. (note:the SIS still is a functioning arm of the NZ govt, it simply relocated to a different building)

    Collaborative lyrics

    As well as having Te Kupu’s text in the songs, mr sterile collaborated over several months with Wellington poet Maria McMillian on the song Drought. Maria was invited to this collaboration as not only do we consider her a poet of fine standing, but the commitment to her political activity of opposing the privatisation for water would inform the similar content of the song further. The word’s were ferried back and forth over months, being stretched and teased into existence, then edited down into the form on the album. This reworking process continued up until moments before the words were committed to the recording.

    Once the mix, which took several weeks, the mastering, and completing of art design, all the finished work was sent to Dualplover in Australia for the final stage of making the actual product. We were in the very capable hands of Swerve, who helped soothe the anxiety around the possible design slips that could happen as we were including two booklets into the final complete package. Additional support and help with the OZ release is from Tenzenmen, a specialist in d.i.y releases from Australia, Asia, and now us.

    The evolution of the art work

    Running alongside the audio process, the task of conceptualising, compiling artwork, and designing the artwork and packaging was explored. In an organic fashion, similar to the way many things evolve in sterile, the final design took many months, multiple edits, and a massive effort to execute what ultimately because a stunning and beautiful package.

    After some initial abandoned design ideas, the concept to approach individual artists to illustrate the  songs was almost accidentally stumbled upon. We looked through our contacts, aware of the vast array of talented friends, and matched songs with artists whom we thought could respond sympathetically to the intent and meaning of the words. And we were astounded and humbly impressed at how much they stood up to the mark, the quality of the art work, and the enthusiasm we received from each artist was incredible.

    Building an exhibition.

    While the art was coming in, the idea sprung into life that this part of the album deserves more that to be rendered into cd booklet size and never seen in its true form. The idea for the exhibition was born.  A close friend, James Kirk, was approached to frame the work over a number of months, not all of it easy, but the quality of displayed art work was astounding,  James also facilitated the contact with a photography who would take the highest quality photos for our reproduction in the books.

    We’d like to say thank you

    The craftsmanship executed from musicians, the sound engineers, artist, and the framing easily lived up to, and surpassed our Everest like expectations. the creating of this album was one stunning experience after another, not always easy, but ultimately extraordinarily rewarding.

    We are incredibly grateful to all the amazing people who have participated in this project.

    We thank you all individually:

    • Aaron Lloydd
    • Andrew Ross
    • Campbell Kneale
    • Dean Hapeta aka Te Kupu
    • Deborah Barton
    • Garage Collective
    • Kate Whitley
    • Kerry-Ann Lee
    • James Kirk
    • James Robinson
    • Jeff Henderson
    • Maria McMillian
    • Mike Gibson
    • Nell Thomas
    • Roger Morris
    • Stefan Neville
    • Tao Wells

    Ongoing Developments:

    The Launch:

    The album was launched at the Wellington Gallery, The Russian Frost Farmers on March 25 2011


    We toured the album extensive within Aotearoa, we also took Transit to Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, and returned to Java Indonesia. While in the township of Blitar, south east Java, a music video was made for the song Stella. The story of a young women from Blitar having a baby, moving to Singapore to get work as a transient migrant worker, while leaving baby back at home. A reflection on the globalised process of cheap labour for wealthy countries, everybody through travels with a very real human story.

    The Exhibitions:

    After the launch we presented to firstly the Hamilton, and then latterly  the Dunedin Fringe Festivals. The art work was couriered and installed with help from local to write the text around the art works. We then arrived to deliver a seminar discussing the process of developing this project, the content of the songs, and to play a few tunes.

    Our show won two awards in Dunedin, and one award at the Hamilton Fringe. Below is a clip made by a Hamiltonian (thanks) from the Saturday afternoon discussion.

    ICOT Presentation

    ICOT13 – The International Conference on Thinking

    In January 2013, the International Conference on Thinking was held in Wellington. We submitted an abstract, which was accepted, to present our thinking around the processes involved in this Transit project.It was a 75 minute break-out session that was well received.

    The Video

    A video for the song Transit, made by Wellington photographer and film maker John Lake. This clip includes a crowd fund choir from across the world. Click this link for more information

    TRANSIT exhibition, album release: Russian Frost Farmers Gallery, March 25 2011

    WHAT: EXHIBITION & ALBUM launch party!

    WHERE: The Russian Frost Farmers Gallery, 2 Eva St, Wellington CBD

    When: 6pm

    Cost: NIL!!! album $20

    With guests DJ P-Pants!


    Transit, the 5th release by Aotearoa New Zealand’s mr sterile Assembly is stonking.

    Dubbed as “one of the most interesting, if hopelessly below-the-pop-culture-radar bands in New Zealand,” the irrepressible two-piece of mr sterile and Chrissie Butler have reeled in a swathe of Aotearoa’s finest musicans and artists.

    Mixed and mastered by the fine hands of Mike Gibson, the sound is a rich weave of heavy bass and drums built around multi-layered vocals. Jeff Henderson, of screaming jazz improv sax fame brings the melodics, alongside a scattering of Nell Thomas (Orchestra of Spheres) on the gamelan gender and the solid bass grooves of Aaron Lloydd. Dean Hapeta aka Te Kupu, Upper Hutt Posse, has been a key collaborator on the project, recording all the vox, sax and extra sounds as well as contributing his own vox and text. Lyrical collaborations with Wellington poet Maria McMillan have also found their place.

    The gathering of the 11 images for the 11 tracks has been a momentous effort. Eight of the works have been commissioned specifically for Transit. The artists, Andrew RossDeborah Barton, James RobinsonCampbell KnealeStefan NevilleKerry-Ann LeeJeff Henderson, and Garage Collective, responded as they desired, creating a powerful collection to accompany the songs. Two works are from artists Tao Wells and Roger Morris, who have gifted established works to be tagged to the songs. The eleventh art work is a very special Wayang puppet received as a gift when the Assembly played in Java on their south east Asia tour in 2007.

    In 2011 mr sterile Assembly will tour the exhibition across the country in between tours to Australia in April, and Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia in July.

    Transit has been released by both our own Skirted Records (NZ), in Tenzenmen Records (Aus), with the support of Creative New Zealand.

    TRANSIT album launch at The Russian Frost Farmers

    Transit album cover

    The new mr sterile Assembly album TRANSIT is now in our possession and we are mightily pleased! Album launch info below. Dualplover have done a splendid job in the production. It is indeed a beautiful piece of work if I may say so myself.

    So I gleefully post the Following:

    FRIDAY 25, March 2011, at The Russian Frost Farmers gallery we are pleased to announce the official launch party for TRANSIT, the new 11 song album by mr sterile Assembly. Including into the package two booklets of 11 unique works of art to illustrate the songs.

    More details soon.


    Kerry Ann Lee, Perhistoric Car-narge, 2010

    Kerry Ann Lee, Perhistoric Car-narge, 2010

    We take a step, a step towards nowhere
    Never leave the known, the now and here
    Walk in the rain to the gray sameness
    Use a blaming game to fuel our fears
    We take a step, a step towards nowhere
    All we know is NO, and hope is where?
    Keeping the pain in blanket greyness
    A cynical refrain, a snide ‘who cares’

    Stuck, here in transit
    What vision for destination?
    What vision is needed
    If it’s only now?
    If it’s only here?
    If it’s always now?
    If it’s always going?
    If it’s going, gone

    We take a step, a step towards nowhere
    Make an empty move, no thoughtful pause
    Inflame a claim to secure containment
    In calamity’s name we change the law
    We take a step, a step towards nowhere
    In the squalling maul of flapping jaws
    Quick change the names to contain reflection
    That the the nowhere was the Now Here before

    Man swallows his own tail
    Open mouth expectant waiting to swallow
    Woman swallows her own tail
    Open mouth expectant, waiting to swallow


    Deborah Barton - Donald's Domain (after Drought), 2010

    Deborah Barton - Donald's Domain (after Drought), 2010

    Who brought this stuff? Falling down for free
    Wash the salt from your skin before it meets the salt of the sea
    Who brought this stuff? Who owns the tap owns the vein
    Who can lock the Commons? Who can sell the air and the rain

    I am thirsty, I am parched. I’m contained in a fluid line
    Can I buy a glass
    I am thirsty, I am parched. I’m coursing in a growing line
    Can I buy a glass

    Who caught this stuff? That laps around your feet
    Runs down from highest hill top, to the flood & thirsty heat
    Who caught this stuff? Who owns the pipe owns the dream
    Who can bank the current, and cast demands on a silver stream

    I am thirsty, I am parched. I’m standing in a fluid line
    Can I fill a glass
    I am thirsty, I am parched. Ride the swell in a growing line
    Can I fill a glass

    There’s 5 of us, fitting tight, in 3 rooms
    Joe lost his flat and needs to come back home
    Baby’s in a mess, I’m under stress
    Mother watch the skin to see infections grow
    Times are tough, money’s tight. Swelling bills
    Gas ‘n spuds, heat ‘n rent, ‘n water in the tub
    What wastage is mine, on garden or washing line
    You make it my fault when you say I dry the rivers up
    The rising costs with no stop. Now user pays
    We just about cope, just about most days
    Wallet tightly zipped. Cents add up with loose drips
    It’s meal or medicine, but can’t have it both ways
    Dam the letter box. More demands, they overflow
    Plug up the leak but I sense it never stops
    Payments have to wait, this thirst never sates
    No water for my kids, but you never turn your sprinkler off

    Who taught this stuff? This ration of priority
    With the fertile words of drought still keep the Cake-Tin green
    Who taught this stuff? Who owns the oars owns the course
    Who can sets restraints on the leakage of a fluid force

    Words in BLUE collaborative text by Maria McMillian/mr sterile

    March of the Fulfillmen

    Jeff Henderson - Bloody Dreaming..., 2010

    Jeff Henderson - Bloody Dreaming..., 2010

    No one likes mirrors
    Unless it’s what we like to see
    A storm of smoke and horror
    Always shifting in periphery
    Love it when ourselves reflect
    The flaws all photoshopped unseen
    And believe the centre of this universe
    Is a continent called ME

    Accept me as your online friend
    Gratify, again, repeat
    Consumption brings fulfillment’s gain
    Will I ever be complete?
    Contentment gained at twice the price
    CREATIVE is a season’s theme
    Raised to reach for highest hopes
    And settle for a shopper’s dream

    This wasteland of new wonder
    Offline is out of beat
    Where convenience feeds opinion
    Here there’s new and obsolete
    With no sense of really how it was
    And less of how the market schemes
    We bailed out the failed capital
    And let nostalgia reign supreme


    James Robinson - Universe Monster!, 2010

    James Robinson - Universe Monster!, 2010

    Yeah everybody’s caught in this war
    Between better judgment and acquiescence
    In the minds’ battlefields perception
    Provokes decision so be aware
    It’s psychological abuse to deny
What should be, but isn’t
    Too quickly discounted are dreams
For debilitation, madness …Whyt

    Go scan the horizon, for a flag promoting peace
    Find a dove with an olive branch, a roasting tray underneath
    Look for the holy man, find the filings of his sharpened teeth
    Seek the truth behind the spin, get pepper-sprayed by police
    Sometimes a shoulder’s needed
    They’re compassionless these flocks of shells
    Then your confidence fails you and you damn it all to hell

    There’s a minefield in the playground, it’s explosive in your mind
    Beware those claiming righteousness, advance the might of any kind
    In a world set to label you, your moods and shopping needs defined
    On the stage the wrongs put right, you struggle to find the time
    Sometimes a shoulder’s needed when living’s like a prison cell
    Restraint maintains the status quo it’s sugar sweetened I can tell

    The sun melts away the night, if you let it you’ll feel warm
    Ma said, “Don’t ever play with fire”, now it’s turning up to burn
    The camp’s expand in Purity and sing the Lord his love is stern
    And proclaim the original sin, was to question and to learn
    Sometimes a shoulder’s needed or some shelter or a meal
    When freedom’s gained at thrice the price
    Can you buy the health to heal?
    Sometimes a shoulder’s needed or some shelter or a meal
    It’s a miracle you’re an optimist, ‘cos sometimes your hell is real

    We fight the fight for improvement
    Stop them ecocidal lunatic confusement
    Because we nah dead although them continue killing
    Maiming, executing, imprisoning, polluting
    All this crime that them do cannot defeat
    The purpose, the will, the words to speak
    The truth, the fact, no hidden crap
    Just stay on track, just stay on track

    Axe and the Olive Tree

    Roger Morris - On the Road to JerUSAlem, 2007

    Roger Morris - On the Road to JerUSAlem, 2007

    Bulldozer blames the broken homes
    Bullets blame the broken bones
    Fist blame the fallen moans
    Bully blames the victim

    Tower’s tale of fleeing feet
    Sniper’s tale of aim and bleed
    Wall’s tale of cordoned peace
    Tell tales on the victim

    Doesn’t matter who’s the holy one in the promised land
    Only who’s continuing the disaster of genocide on man
    Blame the soldier not the stone, the throw, the hand
    See a murder excused by the invader’s demands
    These goliath massacres witnessed by the world
    Displacement occupation where imposers build
    Upon ancient scriptures used to justify walls
    Atrocities and horrors for refusing alien rule
    Bulldozers, despair, repel, dismantle
    Detention, terror, demolition, torture
    Checkpoints, intifada, curfew, lookout tower
    A home with no restrictions, no anguish, no slaughter
    These misguided axes, vicious in their misery
    Seeking to exterminate while asking for sympathy
    These mighty olive trees, radiant majesty
    Sustenance of land and people universally

    The axe blames the fallen olive tree
    The olive tree falls to the blaming axe
    Falling to the axe the olive tree is blamed
    The steal of the blade says the trunk of the tree attacked

    For Palestine.
    “From the window in my small cell
    I can see your massive cell”
    End of a Discussion With a Jailer, Samih Al-Qasim.

    Thank you ActiveStills for the inspirational work in telling these stories.


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    Campbell Kneale - Hibakusha, 2010

    Campbell Kneale - Hibakusha, 2010

    Sit here, count the decades on two hands
    Living in the shadow of no ordinary sun
    Life persevered, I’m amazed that I stand
    How did I survive being young?
    Twice I saw two suns shine
    Twice I saw the world end
    Parachutes fell like blossom from another tree
    Illuminates all once, and then again

    Outside, go walk with my mates
    Sky is blue, and nothing here seems wrong
    And when danger looms, the sirens agitate
    They called before for shelter
    But now the panic’s gone
    High above splits the belly of Enola
    High above, death is giving birth
    To Little Boy, looks like pure magnesium
    Fed on splitting atoms, delivers a hand-written curse

    What now! Get out of this place
    Back to my city and family safe at home
    Who could know? Fat Man in a secret race
    Soared to Nagasaki for his crowd-stopping show
    The worst luck, witness monumental moments
    The best of luck, survive terror’s history
    To be bestowed the cruel honour of the horror
    To watch the blossoms burn in ignition’s tree

    For Tsutomu Yamaguchi
    March 1916 – Jan. 2010

    A survivor and witness to both
    atomic attacks on Japan

    in the Second World War.

    Plans for 2011.

    Ok, the best news is that at this very moment the mr sterile Assembly album TRANSIT is in the most capable and helpful hands of Dualplover. We expect the deliver of the album by the end of Feb and then we shall start sharing our efforts far and wide. The first single has been release for free download on our Bandcamp page, the feed back’s been lovely, ta.

    The first show for this year is in Christchurch at the fine venue of El Santo Porteno with a rare performance of Street and one of the infamous Dave Khan’s bands (i’ll post the band name when I have it). Further afield we also have shows in planning for Palmerston Nth, Whanganui, some Australian shows, and mid year a return to south east Asia.


    Transit almost in the bag.

    Chrissie at Trident studios recording for Transit album

    Chrissie at Trident studios recording fro Transit album Recording and mixing is almost complete. All bass & drum tracks put down at Trident, the old home of the NZ SIS, now a fine recording studio. The vocals, sax, & incidental noise recorded at Matakahi Studio, run by Te Kupu of Upper Hutt Posse fame.

    We’ve returned to Trident to mix, in the capable hands of Mike Gibson.

    The CD package is almost complete as well. We have pulled out the stops to produce an extra beautiful package. The album will have two booklets which will include 11 unique works of art. We have contacted some close friends & wonderful people to collaborate in a visual sense. We allocated a track to these folk who then reinterpreted the song to there own visual style. The contributions include paints, collage, photography, drawings, digital prints, and a Javanese shadow puppet. Will upload some images sometime soon.