Improvisation as a process is an integral part of most music making, and features strongly in popular music, jazz, new composed music, experimental music and electronic music.
New Zealand has a thriving scene of freely improvised music, noise music and experimental music. New Zealand “Noise” music has received much international and national attention in recent years. Pioneering artists, labels and collectives include Bruce Russell, the Dead C, Peter Stapleton, Corpus Hermeticum, CelebratePSIPhenomenom and Pseudoarcana. There are strong communities of noise and experimental musicians in all of New Zealand’s major centres, with distinct styles and sounds emerging from each.
Free improvisation is the process of music making where new music is created “in the moment” or “in the now”. The music is often highly interactive and engaged with the processes of collective music making. Free improvising musicians come from many backgrounds and disciplines.
In New Zealand, improvised music has been influenced by American, European and Australian music, and also draws heavy influences from Maori, Polynesian and Pacific music. There are regular improvisation performances in all of New Zealand’s main centres. Significant collectives featuring improvisation include The Space, Happy, VitaminS, Braille and iiii.
One strong feature of the New Zealand improvisation, noise and experimental scenes is a willingness to collaborate and cross pollinate. Free improvisation nights often feature dancers, film makers, video artists and visual artists in collaboration with musicians.
Since the late 1990’s there have been venues and collectives actively producing and presenting improvised , experimental and noise music. Such festivals as Bomb the Space, Allelulia Noise Festival, Alt.Music and Lines of Flight have highlighted the scenes and continue to foster new music.