'Shhh… The Music Is Talking' is out now

Get in quick - with all copies of the deluxe edition sold in pre-orders, and 1/3 of the standard edition also sold, get in quick to order your copy of the standard today - only a total of 500 are being printed, making this photographic book very limited!

From a triumphant Fran Kora aloft a speaker in front of a sea of faces, to an intimate side-of-the-stage shot of Delaney Davidson in mid ballad, Alexander Hallag and his cameras have captured it all. He's the guy you'll see at every gig, dressed head-to-toe in black, jostling for the best spot in the pit, watching the light and chasing the music.

The internationally renowned photographer is sharing 200 captivating images of the New Zealand music scene, across 200 pages in a stunning book, Shhh... The Music Is Talking.

Born in Austria, raised in Seattle and New York City, and now residing in New Zealand, Hallag has spent decades taking photos of some of the most important bands, musicians and singers in the world. They include B.B. King, Black Sabbath, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, Radiohead, U2, and many more.

Acclaimed British author Neil Gaiman remembers Hallag's talent at an early age, as he writes in the book's introduction: "Alexander took a photograph of me in Seattle, when we were both young, pressed up against a hotel balcony railing, and made something beautiful out of a moment. Beautiful and peculiarly iconic".

For the past five years, Hallag has travelled the length and breadth of New Zealand, documenting the Kiwi music scene in a series of beautifully shot colour and black-and-white images, hand-picked for Shhh... The Music Is Talking.

The exclusive photos capture the special and unique essence of contemporary live performance in New Zealand. Some tell visual stories of living legends such as Dave Dobbyn, Neil Finn, Jordan Luck and Don McGlashan; others harness the power and energy of unforgettable gigs by the likes of Shihad, Kora, Shapeshifter and Head Like A Hole.

They sit alongside never-before-seen images of some of the country's most celebrated acts, from Fat Freddy's Drop and The Black Seeds, to Cairo Knife Fight and Flight of the Conchords.

There are also rare shots of Lorde's second-ever concert at the legendary, now defunct, Mighty Mighty in Wellington, as the teen tip-toed on the cusp of international stardom. The gig sold out in 45 seconds!

Other well-known identities and bands that weave together the pages of this 25.4cm by 25.4cm hardcover labour of love, include Ladi6, Kimbra, Tiki Taane, David Dallas, Chris Knox, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, AHoriBuzz, Ladyhawke, Orchestra of Spheres, Julia Deans, Grayson Gilmour, Beastwars, Anna Coddington, Liam Finn and many more.

Shhh... The Music Is Talking is a five-year work of passion that encapsulates all that is wonderful about New Zealand's musical landscape and the myriad of wonderful artists that dwell on it. It delves into the whakapapa of the local industry; revealing a historical snap shot of its musicians, the fans and some of those that spin the wheels of the machine behind the scenes. It is told through the eyes and lenses of one of New Zealand's most prolific and talented photographers.

The last words are best left to his old friend Neil Gaiman: "It's a photographer's eye that catches the details, and Hallag has that. So few of these shots are posed in any way; the moments are caught, and are beautiful and peculiarly or not, iconic. You can almost hear the music. You can almost smell the spilled beer."

Shhh... The Music Is Talking is available from Facebook or www.themusicistalking.com/store, with delivery from December 18 onwards