Trip To The Moon is a non-denominational, free-ranging project where its two perpetrators, local music stalwarts Trevor Reekie and Tom Ludvigson, get to stretch themselves into wayward shapes and sounds unencumbered by the preconceptions and demands of their day jobs.
Based around an unlikely but productive union of disparate tastes and skills, since their debut in 1997, the occasional duo has produced six albums. The result varies from one album to the next, but typically combines jazz elements with trip-hop and krautrock rhythms, and spatial electronics with languid guitar.
Never quite fitting into any specific scene, and seldom playing live, Trip To The Moon is very much a creative outlet for Swedish-born Ludvigson, whose CV includes television and film work, straight jazz performance and doing time in groups like Bluespeak and Inner City Jazz Workshop. Ditto Reekie, an important figure in the local scene for a multiplicity of reasons, including the running of his own labels Pagan and Antenna, and his broadcasting capers on National Radio, where he’s the producer and presenter of the excellent Hidden Treasures programme, amongst others. It’s both his guitar and production experience that Reekie sinks into Trip To The Moon, unfettered by commercial considerations.
"Tom has loads of freaky electronic stuff, and my gig is not to give it a commercial interface, but try and make them more into songs as opposed to tracks.”
― Trevor Reekie
“My agenda is to get all the jazz shit out of Tom and merge it into our sound,” Reekie told me in 2003. “I like the jazz feel, because that’s always mystified me, as a rock player. Tom has loads of freaky electronic stuff, and my gig is not to give it a commercial interface, but try and make them more into songs as opposed to tracks.”
Both participants acknowledge that the project was influenced by the turn-of-the-century remix series of classic Blue Note jazz releases, with their often sultry electronic grooves and turntable repetitions of motifs, and Ludvigson in particular is a huge Herbie Hancock fan.
“[But] if you talk to jazz people you will probably find that they consider what I do deviates from the core of jazz tradition,” Ludvigson says.
For instance, says Reekie: “Tom can’t just have a normal beat, it’s got to be a fucked-up beat. Tom puts in the weird shit, then I drag them out and put in the rock clichés.”
Reekie is like that, though: one of the nicest guys in NZ rock, and way too self-deprecating.
Ludvigson parries with a bit of his own self-deprecation: “I wasted time collaborating with people who were like myself, and we duplicated skills. Here it’s the other way around. Getting deep into my electronic instruments, which I know make unique and interesting sounds, and Trevor says ‘crap!’ But sometimes he says ‘cool!’” And you can tell that he wears Reekie’s occasional endorsement with pride.
It’s clear that Ludvigson is a synth geek who could spend all day twiddling his knobs: “Synthesisers are WONDERFUL instruments, and there are so many weird things that go on there that can go wrong. With analogue synthesisers it’s wildly flicking around, not pre-set digital waveforms.” And Reekie yawns, and smiles a big goofy smile.
In 2016 Trip To The Moon released their sixth album A Traveller's Tale.
Tom Ludvigson - piano, synthesiser, drum programming
In the 1980s, Trevor Reekie produced The Mockers (with Glyn Tucker) and Danse Macabre. Prior to that, he made his name as guitarist in industrial dance group Car Crash Set.
In the mid-90s, Reekie produced two albums of subdued electronic dub under the name Cosa Nostra for German label Incoming. He also played guitar on four Greg Johnson albums.
Guests on Trip To The Moon albums have included Greg Johnson (trumpet), Nigel Gavin (guitar), Jim Langabeer (sax and flute), Johnny Fleury (Chapman stick), Ian “Dr Glam” Chapman (hang drums), Peter Scott (bass) and Haitham Mazyan (oud).