luna spark (always spelt in all lower or all upper case) is an indietronic group/solo project originally based in Hamilton, New Zealand. The 'group' was formed in late 2000 by Dan Duran, going under the pseudonym tracey exenola (once again, always lower/upper case).
The project grew out of a previous group called Planet Claire with rop movie and Scott Howard (later of the Natalies). They only played only one gig, at the UFM Battle of the Bands in 2000, and broke up on its completion. The group's sound was unique to the competition, utilising a drum machine and no live drummer or bass player. Later that year, still without a band, using a similar setup, the recordings that would become the first luna spark EP began to take form.
Recorded over the summer in the front room at his Mum's place, and finished off in one of the Collingwood apartments in town, luna spark's first recording, an EP called Sarah, came out in early 2001. Some basic mastering had been provided by Fran from the group Tweeter, who was living in the same building at the time. Consisting of six short, sharp lo-fi synth songs, the internet and limited CD release scored luna spark a few fans from around the world, in as far flung places as Scotland and Hillcrest. It almost got a song onto UFM too, but was turned down for sounding like 'the band takes way too many drugs, and the singer needs lessons.'
luna spark's second EP, Media, came out in May 2002. Two others appeared on this release, rop movie and the 'Catatonic Spacette'. Better produced, boasting more guitars and a smoother drum machine, the six track EP spawned a minor local radio 'hit' in Over the Rainbow, a quirky and offbeat rendition of the Wizard of Oz classic from decades back (complete with a rap from rop movie), which eventually found its way onto the Zeropointone compilation CD. Original song State of Mind also got airplay. Media took luna spark to the top of the official Australian Digital Music Indie charts a second time, and eventually easily outdid Sarah for downloads on mp3.com.au.
luna spark's debut full length album Panic followed in July 2003; it featured a re-recorded version of Media's Moving Target and songs previously played live such as Still and 129 Die, expanding on the sound developed over the initial EPs. rop movie played guitar on 129 Die, a song he and Dan Duran had originally written way back in 1997.
The next luna spark move would be the album Simcerity, released in October 2004. A dramatic shift from the previous releases, Simcerity was covered in acoustic guitars and live keyboards, and half the album was sung by Roz, who also contributed musically to a couple of the tracks (most notably Get Off Of My Case). The standout track from the album, Sleepless, received airplay on the Generator and several podcasts, and even a spot on a tsunami charity album, Reconstruction. Electro-punk-noise band the Clerics covered it at the first annual Circle Jerk in 2005. Repair and Get Off Of My Case also got some airplay locally.
Dan Duran began work on the next luna spark release immediately; entitled Inepticity, it was going to be an EP of remixes from the Simcerity album... but it never eventuated, though there are mp3s of the remixed Media Whore and Repair out there. The proposed concept album, The Siren, was also left incomplete. Instead, luna spark released two cover versions - one of the Human League, another of Pink Floyd - the only releases for 2005.
Instead of Inepticity, the album Countdown To Meltdown was written and recorded, inside three weeks, as part of the February Album Writing Month, and released in March 2006. Intended as a stop-gap release, it was wildly inconsistent and varied and met with a muted reception.
To date there have only been three live luna spark performances - one at the Band Experiments in mid 2002, one at Soundproof in late 2002 (a show which included a cover of the Talking Heads' Road To Nowhere, and the Circle Jerk 2006 (performing songs by Stadium and Rose Petals and Confetti).
The concept album The Siren is expected to be finished sometime late 2006, though depending on work commitments another record may surface in the meantime.
- Sarah (EP) - 2001
- Media (EP) - 2002
- Panic (LP) - 2003
- Simcerity (LP) - 2004
- Countdown To Meltdown (LP) - 2006
MP3 singles only
- Guns Of Brixton (Clash cover) - 2003
- Sleepless (demo) - 2004
- Repair (remix) - 2004
- Media Whore (remix) - 2004
- Sound of the Crowd (Human League cover) - 2005
- Run Like Hell (Pink Floyd cover) - 2005
- tracey exenola/Dan Duran - guitar, bass, keys, programming, vocals, songwriting