Previously unreleased, the tracks on ‘Orion’s Belt’ were written and recorded by Californian expat Mary Zick in Wellington, New Zealand in the summer of 1982, with engineering by Steve MacKay. Atmospheric, minimal and rhythmic, these 6 instrumentals were written and performed by Zick on McKay's synthesizer (which he kept as a memento from his days in vintage prog outfit Harvest). Subsequently considered by some to be important additions to the canon of the New Age and Disco, they were considered by Zick less as ‘music’ than as a ‘dedication to wellness’, and played by Zick solely as a backdrop for patients undergoing treatment in MacKay's holistic healing practice.
Formerly members of the nascent San Francisco holistic audio wellness collective ‘Coolidge’, Mary and Merv Zick arrived in Wellington in 1981 looking to set up an alternative healing practice in the Kapiti Coast using the same musical/medicinal techniques they had practiced in California.
Shortly after arrival they were introduced to drummer Steve McKay, Now running a successful sports medicine clinic, McKay’s clients mostly included athletes seeking high-performance muscle recovery through alternative medicine techniques. McKay invited Mary Zick to use his clinical practice and patients as a forum in which to demonstrate the potential benefits of music for healing in New Zealand.
Zick abandoned her 'experiments' in mid-1983 but – crucially - retained the tapes. Invited to speak at a 2014 symposium exploring 40 years of natural therapy in Wellington, Zick’s presentation revisited her compositions as an example of early experiments in the field of holistic medicine. The enthusiastic response to the tracks and the chance meeting with audience member and Burning Log associate Susan Hoff-Holt led us to approach Mary about a release, to which she happily agreed.
Today Mary Zick and Steve MacKay live in Carterton where they run the successful organic wholefood co-operative 'Harvest Life'. Merv Zick lives in California.
released August 1, 2016
'Orion's Belt' - recordings by Mary Zick, 1983.
All music by Mary Zick. Engineered by Steve MacKay. Liner notes by Susan Hoff-Holt.