The quest continues: a new year and a new string of solo performances across Aotearoa's cities, towns, and nether regions from Lawrence Arabia, New Zealand's "pre-eminent chronicler of 21st Century bourgeois dilemmas".
Re-imagined, alone and devoid of any buffer and/or musical safety net, Lawrence Arabia will enchant in these intimate settings with nothing other than himself, his collection of pop songs, and a piano.
Lawrence Arabia is the pseudonym of Christchurch, New Zealand-born singer-songwriter James Milne. Since the release of his first album in 2006, he has become one of the pre-eminent figures of New Zealand’s musical landscape, releasing five critically acclaimed and garlanded solo albums alongside a variety of diverse collaborative work.
Alongside his solo albums, James/Lawrence has maintained a range of side projects including the collaborative projects BARB (with Connan Mockasin, Liam Finn and Eliza-Jane Barnes) and Fabulous/Arabia (with Michael August of Lord Echo), which released records in 2009 and 2011 respectively. James has also composed scores for film, theatre and television, including pieces for Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement’s vampire mockumentary “What We Do In The Shadows,” sung in the choir for Neil Finn’s “Out Of Silence” album and live performances, co-written with Bic Runga, co-produced part of Connan Mockasin’s “Forever Dolphin Love” album and co-created the psychedelic botanical comedy podcast, “The Mysterious Secrets Of Uncle Bertie’s Botanarium,” starring Jemaine Clement as Joseph Banks and Lawrence Arabia as his devoted and long-suffering assistant, Sydney Solander.
At the beginning of 2018, Lawrence Arabia ran a Kickstarter campaign for “Lawrence Arabia’s 2018 Singles Club,” proposing a subscription service wherein he would write, record and release a digital single a month throughout the year. The twelve eventual singles featured collaborations with Hollie Fullbrook (Tiny Ruins), Heather Mansfield (The Brunettes), Liam Finn, Ryan McPhun (The Ruby Suns) and Van Dyke Parks. In March 2019, the singles were compiled as an album entitled “Lawrence Arabia’s Singles Club,” a diverse work which runs through psychedelia, chamber-pop, garage rock and 70s AM soft rock. The album acts as a summation of all the different strains and strengths of Lawrence Arabia’s work up until this point, and a reminder of the vitality of this singular artist.