New Zealanders Oscar West and Rennie Pearson are celebrating 10 years of playing and touring together as the traditional music duo Polytropos.
They have just released their first full-length album, which was recorded at the Tsunami Sound Studios in Levin.
Unusually, the album was recorded into a single track. West and Pearson played into the same microphone with no overdubs, no effects and no editing.
Pearson said, "We wanted the sounds to be as real as possible, it is a somewhat different method to how most bands would record."
The pair had played a couple of concerts at the Tsunami Sound stage and really liked the space.
Owner, producer and sound engineer David Trail had shown them the recording studio and they were impressed with the quality of the sound recording equipment, and felt a connection to the place. They recorded the album over two days.
Multi-instrumentalists West and Pearson are masterful, passionate players of Celtic music arranged in an adventurous, conversational style.
Their infectious stage presence and musicality has been a hit with audiences since their debut concert at Wellington Folk Festival in 2011. In the intervening years they have worked extensively as professional musicians both in New Zealand and internationally.
The name Polytropos – "the thing of many twists and turns" or "the much-wandering thing" – drives the spirit of West and Pearson's unique instrumental arrangements and represents the journey each set creates for the listener.
It also acknowledges the music's own odyssey from the hills of Ireland and Scotland to the rugged, natural landscapes of New Zealand.
Their playing weaves together the tones of the wooden flute, fiddle, guitar, smallpipes, whistles and voice to produce thoughtful arrangements of traditional Celtic melodies that are at once curious, pure and full of storytelling.
Pearson says he has listened to traditional Celtic music since he "was in the womb". His mother played Canadian flutist Chris Norman and Altan, an Irish folk band. After seeing Chris Norman live when he was 8 years old, he said he "had to learn the flute."
It took a while to find a teacher who wasn't a classical flute player but he finally found someone in Wellington who taught him the Irish flute, and so began his deep love of playing traditional Celtic music.
Polytropos are playing songs from their album and some new material at 100 Liverpool Street, Levin on Friday, January 15, 7.30-9.30pm ($20 door sales). For more information visit https://www.polytroposmusic.com/upcoming-events.
Their self-titled debut album Polytropos is available to download or be purchased as a CD from Bandcamp: https://polytropos.bandcamp.com/album/polytropos
Official website: https://www.polytroposmusic.com/