Pat's back. A bit greyer and balder, but happy, chatty and with a new album.
The Pat I'm talking about is Pat Hura. He's definitely back because I ran into him at a party. And that's where he pressed a CD into my hand called Infinity.
I suspect many of you have better memories than me – actually, that's not hard. I suspect all of you have better memories than me, and remember Pat better than I do.
He played in a lot of bands around here before heading off to live down Hawke's Bay way in the mid-90s.
That's a while ago – but now Pat's back.
He started in the mid-80s with a Hamilton band called The Wetbacks then came over here and played with all sorts of people. There was a duo with John Michaelz called Big Garlic Moon (sometimes a trio with the addition of Mike Kirk), and there were various heavy-hitting cover bands: Rum Jungle, Gorilla Biscuit and the Love Vendors.
I must confess, I don't remember exactly who was in which of those bands. People like (drummer) Kevin Shilling, brother of Ross, who now is part of Totara Street's Mauao Performing Arts Centre, singer Graeme Hardacre and probably Neil Pepper on keyboards - all sorts of interesting players.
A solo album
Pat, whom I should mention was the bass player in most of these units, also recorded an album out at The Boatshed Studio. This was not a common occurrence back then.
An album was a rare thing and the Boatshed was a very new studio, probably still running four-track equipment. The album was called The Naked Postman's Scary Songbook and it was very good.
Pat used to be a postman. I've got a cassette copy somewhere in the garage.
Since those days, Pat has been involved in all sorts of music down in Hawke's Bay, backing big name singers including Ray Columbus, Suzanne Lynch and Shane and performing all over New Zealand and in Melbourne and Bangkok. There was even an impromptu solo gig in Peru while travelling there.
He's been involved in jingle production and video production, performed in woolsheds and garages with no-name acts and on large stages with some of the country's biggest stars.
But in August 2014, Pat was growing bored with a series of long stints in covers bands, and it a perfect time for drummer Cameron Budge to come knocking at his door with the idea that they make music together.
The result is the band and album Infinity – the band a duo and the album an immaculately-recorded 50 minutes of ever-changing instrumental music, rock but not heavy, drawing in world influences and creating a rich and varied musical landscape.
Instrumental albums are hard. It's a tricky genre, with a limited audience and every opportunity to make uninteresting self-indulgent music. This is not that.
There is a poise and craft on offer here that really is impressive.
Unlike the other recent local instrumental release – Sean Bodley's brilliant album Genesis – this is less focused on virtuoso playing. Sean's album is stunning stuff, but in the general mould of Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, exploring the possibilities of the guitar.
This isn't that either, though Pat has grown into a very impressive guitarist, shredding with style on occasion. He also plays keys and has sequenced all of the bass parts. The album comprises nine tunes, some long and in “movements”. I guess you could call them rhythmic melodic soundscapes.
They are immersive while continually finding new sounds and adventurous rhythms. Caris' Land nods towards African grooves while elsewhere there are Japanese influences.
I suspect this sort of thing is staggeringly unfashionable, with its “sorta prog rock” leanings, but I've been really enjoying it. And I find it actually makes a great soundtrack to the wide variety of social events here at the Watusi Country Club.
You can listen and buy via the duo's website at: www.infinity.co.nz and Pat says they're on the lookout for a bass player interested in gigging.
You'd need to be pretty good, but if you are, contact the boys. I'd love to hear this stuff live.