BRIGID BURKE & OLLIE BOWN: Erase (Not Applicable)


Posted on Jun 29th 2011 01:31 am

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Brigid Burke & Ollie Brown: Erase

Not Applicable 2011
06 Tracks. 29mins07secs

Chance encounters can be fruitful accidents. British musician and sound artist Ollie Bown, who splits his time between his activities as one half of experimental duo Icarus and various side projects, met Australian musician and visual artist Brigid Burke after temporarily moving to Melbourne. A classically trained musician and composer, Burke is a solo clarinetist whose work often involves integrating improvised music and visual media forms. She has released a number of solo records, and also regularly performs as part of a wide array of ensembles.

Her collaboration with Bown, himself a seasoned musician and improv artist, was recorded during a short series of live improvisations in Melbourne two years ago, Burke on bass clarinet, clarinet, whistles, midi sax and sound processing, and Bown on electronics and processing. Despite barely lasting long enough to satisfy and being built around extremely sparse soundscapes and textures, there is a great deal to this record. The almost pastoral Speed Freaks opens on solitary guitar droplets upon which swirls of earthy clarinet form, while Bown arranges disjointed touches of dissonant electronics in the backdrop. While there are occasional movements towards more built up sections, the piece remains extremely bare in form and feeds on the tension created by the vast spaces left unoccupied by the pair. Taking this form of minimalism to the extreme, Burke and Bown experiment as much with silences as with sound on The Spasms Of Clark Nova, with little more than a few notable sonic brushes to define it. Here, even Burke’s breathing becomes part of the austere make up of the piece.

By contrast, Ecstatic Conversations Of A Whisper shows a more complex structure and a richer sonic landscape. There are hints of the shimmering wind chimes which are often part of the Icarus texture set, which provide a much denser backdrop for Burke, who swaps clarinets for whistles. While Burke’s instruments and Bown’s soundscapes appear at odds on Speed Freaks, Pixel, which come straight after it, and Dots later, showcase a totally different relationship, with the two main components working with instead of against each other, as if, at times at least, a dialogue of sort was imperceptibly building up between Burke and Bown. This correlation between the two becomes even more tangible on closing piece Blades Of Grass, where their respective contributions become tightly entangled.

Despite lasting just half an hour and being extremely minimal, Erase manages to be at once intense and challenging. There is a curious connection between Brigid Burke and Ollie Bown which leads them onto some particularly uncompromising grounds and leaves them forever engaging with each other in new ways.


Brigid Burke | Ollie Bown | Not Applicable

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