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International Observer

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Biography

The perpetrator of the International Observer experience is keyboardist, songwriter and producer Tom Bailey.

Following the extraordinary success of his post-punk synth-pop group The Thompson Twins, production and writing work for the likes of Deborah Harry, and the ambient techno of his Babble project, Tom Bailey was lured to the exotic climes of Aotearoa/New Zealand.

New Zealand culture has a long history of appreciation for reggae and dub, along with more recent blends like hip hop. This, along with NZ’s balmy climes, created the perfect inspiration for Tom’s exploration of the dub artform he had deeply loved since the seething post-punk infatuation of the music in the late 70s. Together with sparring partner Rakai, Tom initiated International Observer, a sound system that quietly infiltrated various Auckland events over years, creating a legendary reputation for marathon five-hour sets of exquisitely-crafted slo-mo dubscapes.

Early in 2002, having amassed enough material for a boxed set, Tom set about pruning the oevre down to an ideal International Observer primer, called ‘Seen’. While he attempted to keep the wraps on this absurdly tasty release, it was somewhat inevitable that previews were sneaked out of seclusion, resulting in extensive radio play worldwide and eager members of the press corps frothing at the mouth for IO morsels.

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