Dudley Benson’s ‘Matariki’ Is An Extraordinary Document

It's a dive into nature's differing dimensions...

Dudley Benson is a composer whose work taps into the many cultures that make up New Zealand.

Informed by the country's extraordinary natural beauty, new album 'Zealandia' is incoming, and it's part topography and part myth.

An avant-pop ode to nature, it's a point of intersection between the physical realm, imagination, and the weight of history.

Take album highlight 'Matariki'. The name refers to the time of year when the Pleiades constellation appears in the midwinter sky, in essence the Maori New Year.

This relates to the Maori custom of tikanga, which tells that the people we've lost are still with us through the natural world, a kind of ancestor worship that links memory to the natural world.

The piece itself is extraordinarily beautiful, this baroque phantasia that drips in obscure melody while leaving an emotional resonance.

The lucid video was crafted by Dudley Benson in collaboration with Tokyo-based New Zealand illustrator Emile Holmewood, building expertly on these lyrical themes.

Dudley comments…

I worked with Tokyo-based New Zealand illustrator Emile Holmewood on the 'Matariki' video. I love Emile's minimal aesthetic, it reminds me of flash animation in the early days of the internet, and it has a sense of humour that I feel is there in my music at times.

We had a lot of discussions and back-and-forth about what the video could be-kind of tricky in the sense that the song itself says so much. Emile's concept settled on some of the science-related research I did in making the Zealandia album: landforms, geology, what these mean to our people. But he also wanted to honour the connection with our ancestors that the song goes into, and they are there too indifferent ways. 

So the 'Matariki' video is a bit like walking through time and space, and being part of the creation and destruction of everything-millennia in a few minutes.

Tune in now.

Photo Credit: Miranda Bellamy

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