Paekakariki songwriter Stefan Wolf has released his latest album – from China. After arriving in March and the mandatory two week quarantine period (“the food was really bad”), he has settled into the picturesque university town of Guilin in southern China where he is playing clubs and jamming with local musicians.

The Chinese sojourn is proving fruitful and Wolf has just released his first longplayer in 5 years, Stiff Herbert. The title is a reference to the name under which he made music back in the eighties. As Stiff Herbert, he released a single, I Could Hit The Ceiling, on Flying Nun – a song that was re-released as part of the Kiwi Animals compilation by Wellington label Strangeways in May of this year.

Wolf’s new album contains eleven tracks, including his reminisces of those old Christchurch days (I Used To Be Stiff Herbert) and a re-recording of what would have been Stiff Herbert’s sophomore release, Visional Rhythm (the song was submitted to but rejected by Flying Nun, leading to Stiff Herbert’s early demise).

Wolf’s new album features sparkling guitars and throbbing synths on an entertaining and upbeat set of songs that is full of energy.

“I wanted to capture the excitement and lust for life that comes with experiencing a new country and culture. The city I live in is small and compact by Chinese standards, yet there are more people living here than in the whole of New Zealand.

“The streets are bustling and the air is rife with anticipation of what the future will hold.”

Wolf intends to stay in China for a little while longer, his return to New Zealand being dependent on COVID 19 travel restrictions.