Far Out – tripping the light fantastic

Twenty years ago GARY STEEL interviewed Trevor Reekie and Tom Ludvigson of Trip about their Pretty Cool album.

They rehearse in a garage, and piece together their albums in a garage, but Trip – keyboardist Tom Ludvigson and guitarist Trevor Reekie – might just blow a gasket if you call them a garage band.

For a start, they sound nothing like White Stripes or The Datsuns. And although Reekie might straddle his axe on the new Trip album, Pretty Cool, there’s no squawking displays of teen angst. No, the guitar on Pretty Cool is a fluid accompaniment to Ludvigson’s jazz-influenced, keyboard atmospherics, and the Mount Albert garage in question contains a stack of synthesisers and software, Ludvigson’s pride and joy.

 

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“My agenda is to get all the jazz shit out of Tom and merge it into the overall sound,” says Reekie, whose own background is rock-oriented. “At one stage of my life I wasted time collaborating with people who were like myself,” says Ludvigson, “and we duplicated skills. But here it’s the other way round. I get deep into my electronic instruments, which I know make unique and interesting sounds, and Trevor will say, ‘That’s crap’. But sometimes he says, ‘Cool’.”

It’s a complimentary, no-bullshit relationship that would probably only be possible with two musicians of their combined experience. Swedish Ludvigson has performed around Auckland as a hired jazz gun for many years, and has recorded a number of albums with Bluespeak and the Inner City Jazz Workshop. Reekie was a member of seminal ‘80s electro group Car Crash Set, has two ambient solo albums under the name Cosa, has recorded four albums with the Greg Johnson Band, and runs two Auckland-based record labels, Pagan and Antenna.

Trip (formerly Trip To The Moon) sounds very electronic, but it’s not airbrushed to death. “There’s always a procedure: plug in and jam,” says Ludvigson about the beginning of every session. At some point of the layering process (after guests like Greg Johnson have put down their parts) there’s a lot of dragging and dropping of icons on the computer. Ludvigson: “That’s the geek interface.”

Both agree that Trip, though hardly a Top 10 contender, is a key outlet for their creative energy. “In a sense Trip is the core project”, says Ludvigson, “but that’s because it’s piggybacked on the compulsive composer trying to rationalize his life.”

+ This story was originally published in Metro in April 2003.

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