ACT OF FREE CHOICE
This is an album of textures and nuances. Its an album for headphones
and quiet rooms because it wont show itself quickly. At first
you wont notice the treated guitar rippling in the background
of DIVE, or the Frippertronic-like scratching in TALK MISTER NATION;
you may miss the lonely piano overlaid on the driving drum loop halfway
through FLOAT; and you could overlook the bone weariness in the vocals
in LAST GREAT MAGICIAN that speaks more directly to the farewell and
closure in the song than any lyric.
Yet it is in the small gestures and the colors at the edge of the canvas
that David works best. For example, the version of DIVE on Christine
Anus Bridie-produced album had a more obvious Massive Attack
sense of rhythmic drive, the ocean in which she sat clearly invigorating.
In his interpretation, Bridie strips back the rhythm and deepens the
brooding nature of the sea so that when he says its waiting
for us to dive right in you feel more awe or trepidation than
So yes, Bridie has dabbled in some of these directions before but this
is the first time he has let loose the full scope of his interest in
sound and rhythm, from the pick and the drive of SALT to the heartbeat
of FOUND WANTING. In that it may be closer in spirit to Not Drowning,
Waving than the Chamber pop of My Friend The Chocolate Cake but it shares
a spiritual bond too with the former Talk Talk singer Mark Holis and
CHOICE has the close breathing intensity of Holis: the sense
that this was recorded centimetres away from the pulse in Bridies
neck and only marginally further away from you. But like Waits,
theres that sense of place:
sketching in a location without words and imbedding that in the song.
You dont need language to recognize the whistling wind in the
desert of The Koran, The Ghan and a Yarn or the space of Australian
the haunting tragically beautiful KEROSENE.
From the ornate packaging (which bears a strong resemblance to Mule
Variations) to the layered and delicately ordered sounds therein, ACT
OF FREE CHOICE bears the marks of a carefully considered and detailed
study. It richly rewards your investigation.
Sydney Morning Herald
Saturday, May 20th, 2000