Ancient Astronaut Theory

Ancient Astronaut Theory

Dave Lisik | Richard Nunns

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Dave Lisik (electonics)
Richard Nunns
(taonga pūoro)

Ancient Astronaut Theory is a new work by Dr. David Lisik, composed in seven movements for taonga pūoro, and featuring Dr. Richard Nunns.

Few have done as much for the revival of taonga pūoro than Richard Nunns. His commitment is total, and his passion deeply infectious. Composers and performers across the globe invite him to participate in a seemingly endless array of musical and cultural settings. When Dave Lisik arrived in here in 2009, it was obvious that he and Richard would eventually cross paths.

Richard Nunns is one of our most important musical ambassadors.  If Rattle has one regret, it would be that we haven’t done more to document the extraordinary range of collaborations Richard has either instigated or enthusiastically participated in.  Given the relative simplicity and limitations of his vast array of beautifully crafted instruments, it’s a wonder that he so consistently piques the interest of the world’s most serious-minded and adventurous musicians, composers, performers, and artists.

Canadian composer and trumpeter, Dr. David Lisik teaches jazz composition, theory and jazz pedagogy at the NZ School of Music in Wellington.  Dave has a portfolio of compositions and arrangements including works for large and small jazz groups, electro-acoustic combinations, chamber ensembles and soloists.  His work has been performed and recorded by many renowned musicians including Tim Hagans, Donny McCaslin, Matt Wilson, Luis Bonilla, Marvin Stamm, Bill Mays, Carl Allen, Kirk Whalum, Jeff Nelsen and Joey Tartell among many others.

Their first collaboration together, the critically acclaimed The Curse of the Queen’s Diamond (RAT-J-1005), alerted Dave to the relatively untapped potential of taonga pūoro, of composing specifically for the instruments – and nothing else!  It may seem somewhat surprising that it should take a Canadian to do what many of us have long-contemplated but as yet failed to realise – an album solely composed for and around the vast arsenal of sounds Richard Nunns is capable of producing.

Combining loops and re-contextualised phrases with layered overdubs and electronic manipulation, Dave Lisik has concocted the ultimate taonga pūoro orchestra, a beautifully engineered, gorgeously produced tapestry of texture and timbre.


Commenting on Dave Lisik's The Curse of the Queen's Diamond, William Dart said that the album is 'the perfect vindication of Rattle’s philosophy that they are not interested in musical barriers'. The same could be said about Ancient Astronaut Theory.


RAT-D025 (September, 2011)

This recording was made possible with the support of Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Te Wahanga Aronui, and the New Zealand School of Music

Production, additional recording, and mixing: Dr. David Lisik
Engineering and mastering: Steve Garden
Design: UnkleFranc

  Ancient Astronaut Theory
  A suite in seven movements for taonga pūoro 

    Part One: The Watchers (6:35)
    Part Two: Original Seeding (7:10)
    Part Three: Ark of the Covenant (5:16)
    Part Four: Wondjina (8:29)
    Part Five: Oannes (8:26)
    Part Six: Lux et Veritas (Light and Truth) (7:58)
    Epilogue: The Watchers (7:39)

    Total playing time  (52:06)