Peter Jefferies & Jono Lonie
Re-issued on vinyl for the first time since it’s 1987 release At Swim 2 Birds is a sonically rich and ever expanding collaboration between Peter Jefferies (This Kind Of Punishment) and Dunedin folk musician Jono Lonie.
Titled after the surreal Flann O’ Brien novel, this album is a varied affair from piano-scapes, ambient noise, minimalism to experimental moods and homemade instruments. All seeking out free combinations that act as both antithesis and co-existence.
“While its tempting to look at a musical career that spans three and a half decades in terms of trends and themes, every record that Peter Jefferies has ever made demands to be dealt with on its own, and At Swim 2 Birds is no exception. Flying Nun Records first released it in 1987, just as This Kind Of Punishment, his sonic partnership with brother Graeme Jefferies, wound down, and shortly before he became Xpressways production expert.
But it is not so much a transitional effort as a singular expression of where Jefferies’ head was at, geographically and personally. Having left New Zealand’s north island for Dunedin, he was ready to leave behind the musical and personal pressures that accompanied his work with TKP and its more straightforwardly rocking predecessor, Nocturnal Projections. So he refrained from singing, turning instead to the evocative potential of malleable sound to express a more unbounded frame of mind.
Nowadays, Jono Lonie plays Irish folk music, but Jefferies appreciatively recalls how willing he was to experiment on At Swim 2 Birds, “working with Jono was very liberating in terms of new ideas and new sounds. He was really flexible and open-minded about the collaborative process.” Jefferies’ tape manipulations are all over the record, transforming the pitches and timbres of his piano and drums as well as Lonie’s guitar and violin. The two men worked out the music in Lonie’s house, overlooking the ocean and Otago Peninsula. This setting translated into music that suggests tidal pulses, avian voices, and open skies, natural forces that balance the brittle nerviness of tracks like ‘Interalia’ and ‘Tarantella.’ Jefferies has gone on to use the transformational techniques at work on this LP time and again, and he also returned to instrumental music on Substatic, but he’s never made another record that feels like At Swim 2 Birds.”
– Bill Meyer