Delicacies in the Garden of Plenty

Sarah Peebles  Kyle Brenders  Nilan Perera

An album supporting Second Harvest. All proceeds go straight to Second Harvest, Canada’s largest food rescue charity with a dual mission of environmental protection and hunger relief. Find it on Bandcamp at Second Harvest. This digital release is Free / PWYC, according to your situation.

Music: free improvisation trio & soundscape - electroacoustic works featuring birds and insects from Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Cover: lino-cut collage Ele Willoughby / @the.minouette.  Design by Yesim Tosuner / Backyard Design.

  1. Delicacies In The Garden of Plenty 1   13:26
  2. In The Canopy part 3   19:33
  3. Lift   03:11
  4. Delicacies in the Garden of Plenty 2   24:01

Track info

Delicacies in the Garden of Plenty (tracks 1 & 4)

Kyle Brenders: saxophones
Sarah Peebles: shō
Nilan Perera: altered electric guitar and effects

A free improvisation performed at Ratio, Toronto, November 11, 2014. | |

In the Canopy – Meditations from Paparoa and Kāpiti Island, part 3 (track 2)

Sarah Peebles, electroacoustic (2005/2020)

In the Canopy is a 40-minute work in three parts. In 2003-2004 I travelled to Aotearoa (New Zealand) via Singapore and recorded sounds of birds, insects, amphibians and rivers. The essence of my experiences listening to the abundance of life surrounding me, life often out of sight, is reflected in a phrase that came up in conversation with a Maori acquaintance: that which is just beyond our perception. The essence of my spending long, focused periods of time in nature while recording and while simply being – taking time – doesn't easily translate into words for me; it's nonverbal. But this phrase, this concept, that which is just beyond our perception, resonates. The tree canopy, the bushes, ground, air and waters held life I could often hear, sometimes suddenly, while being invisible. While the presence of beings shifted into my awareness, I had to ponder, then, what was just beyond my perception? The kaka (parrots) above, perhaps watching me, an emerging cicada, shifting weather. Or the larger view: the complexity of the biosphere, earth's constantly evolving micro– and macro communities of living things, their lives, habitats and interconnections. This infinite feedback loop.

That which is just beyond our perception is an English translation of a concept within the Māori Ngā kete o te Wānanga (Baskets of Knowledge) shared with me by Gary Millan in Paraparaumu, across from Kāpiti Island. It is from the third basket, "Te Kete Tuatea: the basket of ancestral knowledge of mākutu and whaiwhaiā and evil, including war, and also agriculture, tree or wood work, stone work and earth works."1 The Third Basket has also been described as "the experience we have of our connections with one another and with the past, the knowledge of our spiritual realities, realities beyond space and time, and the world we experience through ritual."2 I'm told that, as with all Māori concepts of knowledge, this has both a literal and spiritual dimension. I, as a guest invited to create a sound work for Radio New Zealand/Te Reo Irirangi o Aotearoa, explored my visceral experiences to this place, especially time spent in Paparoa Park on the South Island, and at Kāpiti Island off the North Island.

The unique relationships between Aotearoa's native plants and their historic pollinators, native bees and especially, birds, can be easily heard in rich birdsong and plants rustling in breezes, in the subtle wingbeats of digger bees hovering over sandy slopes, in the sounds of gathering and weaving of harakeke and wharariki (flax). Though these sounds are a fraction of the abundance and diversity of what once existed in these islands – particularly before deforestation & introduced species that occurred with European settlement, and ongoing industrial agriculture, apiculture, industry and climate change – these voices thrive and continue to instruct, compel, inspire and inform the identity and culture of Aotearoa's peoples and all who experience them. The forest canopy here and everywhere supports much that we cannot perceive and do not (yet) know – some of which we hear, smell, touch, see and feel; all of which is connected. The canopy, the life within it, the soil beneath it, the water and weather it generates, creates this place.

1. Māori Dictionary Project ( 2. Papatoetoe East Primary School (

Lift (track 2)

Sarah Peebles, electroacoustic (2006/2020) 

Lift is dedicated to the remaining indigenous plants and pollinators – avian and insect – of Aotearoa/New Zealand. Inspired by my experiences on Kapiti Island, in Paparoa park and in the Wellington area, Lift is a reduction of a larger 40-minute work, In the Canopy. You can’t have flight if you don’t have lift. 


Tracks 1 & 4: Joe Strutt, recording. Ted Phillips, editing assistance. Matt Rogalsky/Memory Device, mastering. Performance presented by Ratio for the album release concert for Delicate Paths - Music for Shō | たおやかな 歩 み 笙 の 音 (Unsounds 42U). © 2014 Sarah Peebles, Kyle Brenders, Nilan Perera. All rights reserved.

Track 2: Composed by Sarah Peebles at Studio Excelo, Toronto 2003-2005. Remastered by Matt Rogalsky/Memory Device 2020 .Commissioned by Radio New Zealand/Te Reo Irirangi o Aotearoa for the programme "RPM" (produced by Matthew Leonard), with assistance from the Canada Council for the Arts | Conseil des Arts du Canada. Part 1 is published on the album, Delicate Paths - Music for Shō (Unsounds 42U). © 2005, 2020 Sarah Peebles. All rights reserved.

Track 3: Composed by Sarah Peebles at Studio Excelo, Toronto 2006. Remastered by Matt Rogalsky/Memory Device 2020. © 2006, 2020 Sarah Peebles. All rights reserved.

Album: Matt Rogalsky/Memory Device, mastering. Ele Willoughby/@the.minouette, cover art. Yesim Tusuner/Backyard Design, cover design. Sarah Peebles, producer. Riparian Acoustics & Second Harvest, promotion assistance. © ℗ 2020 The Artists. Kyle Brenders, Nilan Perera, SOCAN. Sarah Peebles SOCAN & ASCAP for the World except Canada.

Thank You!

Album: Contributing artists & musicians, Nick Storring, Rob Cruickshank, Mike Filipov.

Tracks 2&3: Matthew Leonard, Radio New Zealand, Dean Hapeta/Te Kupu and family, Kirsten Hapeta and Gary Millan, John and Sue Barrett, Veronica Meduna, Brent Clough, Ted Phillips, Phil Dadson, Susan Frykberg, Sally McKay and Richard Nunns.

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