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The chief perpetrator of the International Observer experience is keyboardist, songwriter and producer Tom Bailey.
Following the extraordinary success of his post-punk synth-pop group The Thompson Twins, production and writing work for the likes of Deborah Harry, and the ambient techno of his Babble project, Tom Bailey was lured to the exotic climes of Aotearoa/New Zealand.
New Zealand culture has a long history of appreciation for reggae and dub, along with more recent blends like hip hop. this, along with NZ's balmy climes, created the perfect inspiration for Tom's exploration of the dub artform he had deeply loved since the seething post-punk infatuation of the music in the late 70s. Together with sparring partner Rakai, Tom initiated International Observer, a sound system that has quietly infiltrated various Auckland events over the past five years, creating a legendary reputation for marathon five-hour sets of exquisitely-crafted slo-mo dubscapes.
Early in 2002, having amassed enough material for a boxed set, Tom set about pruning the oevre down to an ideal International Observer primer, called 'Seen'. While he attempted to keep the wraps on this absurdly tasty release, it was somewhat inevitable that previews were sneaked out of seclusion, resulting in extensive radio play worldwide and eager members of the press corps frothing at the mouth for IO morsels. It's been called the lushest, deepest, most caringly crafted dub-a-tronic exploration ever released, a cunning experiment in melodic instrumental dub that, without losing its edge, makes for the most gorgeously seductive meditative listening experience. It was released in NZ by Beautiful Music, and the rest of the world by Different Drummer.
This release was followed in 2005 by "All Played Out", a selection of live and sound system favourites that for one reason or another did not make it onto "Seen". Released only in New Zealand and Australia on the cult Auckland label, Round Trip Mars, helmed by the inimitable Stinky Jim, it followed its predecessor into the hands, boxes and players of discerning dubheads.
Some of the tracks from “All Played Out” finally made it out worldwide in 2007 on the “Heard” album through Dubmission Records. Critically acclaimed by the press, it also featured newer tracks and classics such as “The International”.
His third album, “Felt”, came out in September 2009.