Prolific output more than impressive

Fraser Hunter, redefining prolific. Photo supplied.
Fraser Hunter, redefining prolific. Photo supplied.
I’ve probably thrown around the words "prolific output" in this column a lot over the past four years, but musician Fraser Hunter has redefined what those words mean to me in recent months.

The former Dunedin resident, now based in Titirangi, has been dropping quality release after quality release online, to the point where it’s almost a bit ridiculous.

"My friend the other day was checking what was new on Bandcamp," the buoyant Hunter said over Skype, "just like in the New Zealand section, and there were two releases from me on every page for like four or five pages.

"It was kind of weird. I’d never put it into context like that."

To try to contextualise it here, in the past six months, Hunter has released multiple EPs and albums in a bunch of genres under six different monikers: Clever Calvin, Fluids, Big Frendly, Water Hungry, Smoko (aka Howard Dully) and released a debut full-length album with his band Heroes for Sale, as well as playing drums in Auckland outfits Lapis and Juiceroof.

That’s impressive any way you look at it, and they’re all starting to pick up traction.

The Heroes for Sale album for example, came as a result of the band winning a Converse Rubber Tracks program competition, beating out thousands of applications from up-and-coming artists from all around the world.

"It’s our first full-length, that we did in two days with Hector Costello, who engineered a couple of Bjork albums and a whole heap of Philip Glass," Hunter says.

"He actually started in Phillip Glass’ studio and worked his way to the top, and went freelance. He’s done some Bruce Springsteen, and maybe the third- and second-to-last Bowie albums.

"I actually got the email back and then deleted it ’cause a get tons of emails and a lot of Converse ones, y’know, like newsletters and stuff? So I deleted it thinking that it was nothing. So then I got a Facebook message a while later being like, ‘Yo, it’s been a week, we need to know,’ and I freaked. We were definitely keen to go to Sydney [laughs]. It was so cool."

The forthcoming Clever Calvin album is also set to be a standout: a tranquil, droning piece of sad folk.

Slowly drifting in a single stream of field-recording noise from one piece of detuned ambient folk guitar music to the next, the album feels extremely organic in a style that calls back to the Microphones’ 66-minute quiet masterpiece The Glow Pt. 2.

It’s deep and searching, in the way rainy days and lonely people often are, plagued by thought and hoping for redemption, while giving you your own space to think.

The album will be released on Auckland/Berlin label Cosmic Compositions.

"I’ve just had lots of free time,’’ Hunter muses coming back to his work ethic.

"I took a year off uni, wrote a bunch of stuff, went to Hawaii came back and wrote some Fluids, then a relationship I had broke up and I moved back to my dad’s place. Because I’m not flatting and no-one’s home, I was bored and like real depressed, and just started writing music. And now I’m just doing music all the time. I keep coming back to writing a ton of music."


The music

• Heroes For Sale debut album Nothing To Be Done is available now from, cassettes to follow on Prison Tapes

• Clever Calvin’s new album is coming soon on Cosmic Compositions,

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