Nocturnal Projections were a rock band from New Plymouth, that began recording in 1981 and split up in 1983. Often compared to British post punk bands, especially Joy Division, with whom they shared a moody, bass-driven sound, although the Projections’ guitar was less metallic and more ebullient than Joy Division’s. They also never underwent the exacting production of many such British bands; there is a directness to their recordings that has dated well.
Nocturnal Projections were Peter Jefferies (vocals), his brother Graeme Jefferies (guitar), Brett Jones (bass), and Gordon Rutherford (drums). Peter and Graeme subsequently formed This Kind Of Punishment, which played together through the late 1980s. Graeme would then launch Cakekitchen, while Peter would go on to release several solo albums.
The brothers played in a series of punk bands (such as the Plastic Bags) before forming Nocturnal Projections; though none of those early efforts have been released, some of the songs (including “Walk in a Straight Line”) would be recorded by Nocturnal Projections.
The band’s first release was the 1981 Things That Go Bunt In The Night tape, which was recorded direct to cassette and released in extremely limited quantities, perhaps as few as 100 copies. Those songs were: Nerve Ends in Powerlines, My Neighbours, Walk in a Straight Line, Marlene’s Fish Shop, Worldview, Non-Event, Cathleen, The Down Song, That Girl.
Within the year they followed up with a second cassette, November 1981, which seems to have been recorded on at least a four-track deck. Those songs were: You’ll Never Know, Alone in the Corner, Repetition, In Purgatory, Difficult Days, Stereo, Obsessions, Inmate in Images.
The band released its first records in 1982, a 7” (“Nerve Ends in Power Lines”, backed with “In Purgatory”) and the Another Year 12” EP (You’ll Never Know, Isn’t that Strange, Could it be Increased, Difficult Days, Out of My Hands).
Nocturnal Projections’ final record was a three-song 12” in 1983 (Understanding, Another Year, In Darkness). Peter Jefferies later despaired of the over-produced sound the band achieved in its only work with a proper studio. Two live tracks from this time would also make it to record: the expansive “Words Fail Me” (eventually reworked into a This Kind of Punishment song) on the 1986 Biding Our Time compilation, and the anthemic “Walk in a Straight Line” on the 1990 Xpressway Pile=Up compilation.
In 1995 Raffmond, a European label, released the Nerve Ends in Powerlines CD of eleven Nocturnal Projections tracks: In Purgatory, People Who Told Me, Another Year, Difficult Days, Walk in a Straight Line, You’ll Never Know, No Problems Here, Moving Forward, Could it Be Increased, Nerve Ends in Power Lines, and Restoration, some of which had been unreleased. Buried at the end of the CD were four unlisted songs taken from the two cassettes: The Down Song, Alone in the Corner, Obsessions, Inmates in Images.
Songs from the first tape have appeared on the Hate Your Neighbours CD (1997), the Worldview 7” (1998), and the Move to Riot CD compilation (2002).