Formed in Stratford, near New Plymouth, New Zealand in 1981, Nocturnal Projections was the explosive project of legendary and prolific brothers Graeme and Peter Jefferies (who would later form This Kind of Punishment before launching their solo careers), who along with friends Brett Jones and Gordon Rutherford, created some of the most energetic and influential avant-garde punk rock to emerge from the country.
Largely ignored during their tenure (but revered and referenced in the years after their breakup) and often compared to UK contemporaries like Joy Division, Comsat Angels, The Fall, or Wire, Nocturnal Projections stood well apart - never enjoying the luxuries of unlimited studio time, music videos or international fame, the NPs possessed a driven, rough-hewn serrated edge that cut through the lot comparisons to the UK post-punk exports of the era. They were ahead of their time, completely singular, and for those that had the benefit of seeing Nocturnal Projections play live – formative, with a dedicated cult following to this day.
As residents of New Plymouth’s Lion Tavern during their first year as a band, they perfected their soaring, impactful live set locally (often as the only band, without an opener and 3 hours to fill!) before heading off to Auckland in January of 1982, performing with bands like The Fall, John Cooper Clarke, and New Order at venues like The Mainstreet Cabaret, The Rumba Bar and Reverb Room. Over the next two years in Auckland the band would record 3 vinyl records (collected on the companion release to this record, “Complete Studio Recordings” DAIS112), write nearly 100 songs and play over 150 gigs.
“Inmates In Images” pulls the best of the best from board recordings of live sets between 1981 and 1983, including the never-before-released tracks: “Blank Faces” and “Late Night”, along with unheard versions of previously released songs - and includes Peter and Graeme’s song “Walk In A Straight Line”, written in October of 1980 and originally intended for their earlier band The Plastic Bags.
Nocturnal Projections are hard to pin down: bright, slashing, and prominent guitars with driving, solid basslines and drums in tight lockstep, all with Peter Jefferies’ urgent signature baritone vocals soaring alongside – the result is still perhaps the most energetic, unique, and fresh music to ever emerge from the post-punk scene. This collection is must-have for new listeners and existing NP fans, preserving the legacy of New Zealand’s groundbreaking legends.
We were better live. If you went to the shows that’s when you really got Nocturnal Projections. What you have here is an attempt to document those performances. Much debate, trawling of archives, and careful re-mastering has gone into this set. If you weren’t there, then this is probably as close as you’re gonna get to it. If you were, then I hope this album brings back some memories. Certainly works for me.
- Peter Jefferies. December, 2017