Roy Montgomery

biography
Roy Montgomery grew up in Christchurch New Zealand; starting his first band, The Pin Group, who released the first single on the Flying Nun label in 1981.  When the band broke up Montgomery went to college where he dabbled in the theater while studying, developing an interest in soundtrack work that he would refine later in his career.

In 1985 Montgomery was briefly involved in a band called The Shallows (which released a single on Flying Nun in 1985), but gained wider exposure as a member of Dadamah. The singles and one LP Dadamah recorded (posthumously collected on the This Is Not a Dream CD by kranky 1995) marked the quartet as one of the most unique groups to come out of the fertile NZ scene.  Montgomery's guitar drone/strum, while anchored in an appreciation of the Velvet Underground, Television and Wire, showed itself to be remarkably wide ranging.

In 1994 Roy Montgomery began a trip around the world that would result in a wealth of releases.  After finishing the initial Dissolve album with Chris Heaphy in New Zealand, he visited the U.K. and played live with Flying Saucer Attack and accompanied writer Kirk Lane.  While in Guatemala, he spent the night at one of the temples at the Mayan ruins in Tikal.  On a stop in Chicago he got a $65 guitar in a pawn shop, a Teisco matching the one Rouy's favorite Hound Dog Taylor modeled on the cover of his first album.  Arriving in New York City, Montgomery apartment sat, borrowed a four track tape deck and started recording.

Montgomery told Pop Watch that

    "...my most productive burst of activity took place in a tiny apartment in the East Village of Manahattan, where, you might assume, you would not be able to hear yourself think let alone make and record music, especially if you are a little peasant from the Antipodes.  In actual fact, the experience of being there for three months was one of the most tranquil experiences of my life, and the neighborhood in which I stayed indeed seemed much like a village - and a relatively sleepy one at that."

Mixing a bunch of four track recordings and doing overdubs with engineer Brendan Burke at Loose Booty studios in Chicago, Montgomery put together music that became a series of seven inch singles and two albums.  kranky released the Temple IV CD in 1995.  Inspired by that night at Tikal, the pieces on the album were recorded in open tuning and are pure instrumentals.      

Dawn Sutter described the album in a Feb. 1996 issue of CMJ New Music Report:

    "...Roy Montgomery writes on the inner sleeve of Temple IV that it was inspired by a trip to the Northern Guatemalan rain forest where he endured physical discomforts and attempted to come to terms with the death of a love.  Though its nice to have a concrete description, those words are unnecessary.  Temple IV is like an opera in a foreign language with no translation, where through the music alone, the listener is able to ascertain what the circumstances were, what the mood was and other background information...  The lush songs on Temple Iv are brimming with an aching sadness, violent anger and exhausting relief.  This intensely beautiful album does not come as a surprise... the ravishing feedback on Temple IV expresses more than most words."

Danny Housman wrote in Option that Montgomery

    "layers his guitar on a four track here for hypnotic, long stretches that veer from incredibly lush to abrasive and purgatorial."  

The next few years saw a bunch of releases bearing Roy Montgomery's name, as well as his collaborations with Bardo Pond under the name Hash Jar Tempo.  He got together again with Chris Heaphy to record music originally written to accompany a play, that kranky released at Roy Montgomery/ Chris Heaphy True.  More recently, Roy Montgomery has moved back to New Zealand, started a family and begun a career as an university lecturer.

kranky titles available
True (with Chris Heaphy)
Temple IV

see also
Dissolve - Third Album for the Sun
Dissolve - That That Is...Is (Not)
Dadamah - This Is Not a Dream

external links