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Clarkson ,JayOver the Mountain


The release of “Over the Mountain” is a rare and special event. It marks collaboration from two of New Zealand's finest musicians, Jay Clarkson and Johannes Contag (Cloudboy, Mink), who have quietly been producing some of New Zealand's finest musical work.

Clarkson was a founding member of ‘80s underground punk collective The Playthings, who released 2 singles and an album (engineered by later Bats bassist Paul Kean). Following these, Clarkson produced a series of releases with They Were Expendable, a solo album, and a compilation featuring all (bar Playthings) of these acts called “Packet”. Most of Clarkson's output was released by Flying Nun Records.
In 1989 another Jay Clarkson incarnation, Breathing Cage, won $44,000 for the Rheineck Rock Award, helping to produce the excellent album “Misericord”. In 2001 Clarkson released a solo 4-track album of intimate and nicely edgy songs titled “Kindle” through the Dunedin label Arclife. This was in part mixed by Johannes Contag and marks the start of the two artists' collaboration.
"Over the Mountain" started its life in 2004 as a series of demos recorded round the corner from Alexanderplatz in East Berlin, when Clarkson visited Contag, who had relocated to Germany with Cloudboy the year before. These initial recordings progressed to the Austrian Alps, where for a week Clarkson and Contag set up a studio in an expansive attic - overlooking a deep and green valley bearing cows with clunking bells, snow-topped mountain peaks in full view. Here they recorded the main part of "Over the Mountain".
Aspects of the album were then tidied long distance with Contag still residing in Berlin and Clarkson back in Dunedin. In 2006, Contag returned to Wellington, where he currently lives. The final songs added to the album ("Loretta", "Lovescarf", "Groundless", "Uncooked" and "In Addition") Johannes and Jay recorded together in and around Wellington. Contag completed mixing in mid-2007.

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