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The Doomed Bird Of Providence – Burrowed Into The Soft Sky

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The Doomed Bird Of Providence - Burrowed Into The Soft SkyThe Doomed Bird Of Providence‘s latest album shows a marked departure for the band. Initially known for their dark and mournful songs about Australian colonialism, Burrowed Into The Soft Sky takes a far more abstract approach. Shorn of Mark Kluzek‘s vocals, it’s composed of two lengthy instrumentals, the titular “Burrowed Into The Soft Sky” and “The Blood-Dimmed Tide Is Loosed”, exploring his obsessions in a more soundtrack-oriented vein.

If looking at those track titles makes you think of Current 93, well, you wouldn’t be entirely right, but you wouldn’t be entirely wrong either. Indeed, the album features Joolie Wood, who has also played with Mr Tibet‘s travelling band of apocalyptic players. But where C93 deal with matters of the hereafter, the soul and the mystic, the horrors here musically described are of a far more physical nature.

Burrowed Into The Soft Sky takes its name from Patrick White‘s novel Voss (being a description of a comet as seen by both the aboriginals and Voss himself, based on the doomed explorer Ludwig Leichardt). Drones resolve into tunes which build into epic sonic onslaughts before dying back into fragility again, and the whole is reminiscent of something between a Nick Cave and Warren Ellis soundtrack and Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

And then things get even more intense. “The Blood-Dimmed Tide Is Loosed” conveys in sound the atrocity that was the massacre of aboriginals by European settlers, and its darker, more percussive nature creates something that is genuinely quite frightening. As atrocity soundtracks go it wouldn’t sit badly alongside Krzysztof Penderecki‘s Threnody For The Victims Of Hiroshima (better known these days as that really terrifying orchestral piece used on the new Twin Peaks soundtrack), although the two together would be a lot to cope with. From soft and spooky ambient passages to a terrifying cacophony of drums and violins, it’s by far the darker half of an already-dark album.

Savage, beautiful, elegiac and yes, fucking scary.

-Justin Farrington-

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