Low Profile Photographs

LOW PROFILE was a studio orientated musical partnership of Steve Garden and Phil Bowering (pictured left), which operated between 1982 and 1987. Steve and Phil first worked together in the jazz rock group Outlines, recording compositions by Phil Bowering for the Concert Programme in 1980. They susbsequently worked together on recordings of original songs for the Pacific Song Contest. In July 1982 they made demo recordings under the name Low Profile Urban Guerillas at Basement Tapes, Steve's 8 track recording studio under an op-shop in Mt. Eden Road, Auckland.

The Phil Bowering/Low Profile album Quiet Streets was recorded at Basement Tapes in November and December 1982 while Phil was still living in Wellington and was released in April 1983.

A film clip of the track Glass Cage made by independent film makers to promote the album was shown on Radio With Pictures when the album was released. Click here to find out more about the making of this clip and view stills from the production.

The participation of other musicians, including the late Mike Farrell on guitar and keyboard player Tom Ludvigson in the realisation of further compositions in the recording studio was continued through 1983, resulting in the highly acclaimed Elephunk in My Soup, which was released in New Zealand in 1984 and in Australia in early 1985. An entertaining clip of the title track was a finalist in the 1984 New Zealand Music Awards and can be viewed here.

Phil Bowering spent much of 1985 overseas approaching record companies in Britain and Australia with demos of new tracks. With record companies in the United Kingdom expressing interest in the music being produced, work began on completing a debut album in early 1986, with a view to obtaining overseas releases once the album was completed.

A 12" single, The Cutting Edge , was released in 1986, followed by an EP, Simon Says, in 1987. The album Elephunkin' was not released in New Zealand and Australia until late 1987 and at this time Phil Bowering made another trip to Australia to promote the album and the video clip of Simon Says was shown on the SBS programme The Noise. However, it was not going to be possible to strike in the U.K. while the iron was hot with such a delay in proceedings and no working band.

Early in 1988 the possibility of releasing another single with a video clip was considered and Jayrem Records boss James Moss travelled to Britain and Europe with a view to securing licencing agreements for Elephunkin' and other Jayrem Product. However, despite critical acclaim and overseas interest, LOW PROFILE recordings have only been released in New Zealand and Australia to date.

The innovative nature of this body of work is now more widely acknowledged. LOW PROFILE were experimenting with how the recording studio could be used as a creative tool and with how the music thus produced could be promoted using music videos created by working with independent film makers. They were also exploring the development of technologically driven dance-orientated music and the use of "rapping" long before both of these genres became much more popular.

The Basement The Basement The Cutting Room @EMI
Left to Right: Phil in the control room at Basement Tapes; Tim Gummer and Phil in the Basement Tapes control room; in the Cutting Room at EMI Studios with Roy Carr. All photographs by Timothy Carter.
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