Great Barrier – Selfless Orchestra (reviewed by Marcus Kittridge)

These Australian Noisemakers initiate this recording with 3m45s of edgy awkward tune-ups. It’s the sort of sound that might get Glyndebourne aficionados running to the exits demanding their money back in a Mr Angry from Tonbridge Wells stylee. However, they’d have to push past me as I was gatecrashing the turnstiles and rushing towards the stage after hearing this magnificent pronouncement of intent from a distant vantage.

As the post-rock classical fusion takes shape you are transported to a fabulous place where Sonic Youth might secretly hang out with the Berliner Philharmoniker.

There is definitely an angry marine biology and conservation angst running through this work. You feel like you are being tossed around by waves and crashing against rocks while being forced to look at a fragile subsea that’s being perpetually damaged by man.

It’s not all hard and forceful though. The record is peppered with lighter divine moments featuring pianos, strings and percussion. This conveys a sense of optimism as well as reflecting the changeable moods of the ocean.

When the darkness rebuilds, as it frequently does, you are reminded that nature can punish us in a more immediate way than the ways that we might destroy it.

‘Bleached’ is a reflective piece that appears to be overviewing significant ecological damage. It is quite difficult to listen too. It might even make you cry in a bad way.

This is a long piece of work and really needs the listener to make time to digest it in one sitting. It is most definitely well worth the investment in your time and patronage.

The final piece, the 10 minute long ‘Eden Is Lost’ is a mournful track that tracks back by way of guitar refrains and appears to offer hope that humans might someday bring. But even this track has a sonic ambiguity that leaves you exiting their world with a jarring restless feeling.

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