By Dirty Three
Melbourne's Dirty Three play no genre music. Jim White plays drums, Warren Ellis plays violin and Mick Turner plays guitar. They put just a little piano and bass on this album as well. But that's because after ten years and six albums they feel a little expansive. Together, they make a sublime and soul purging music like no one else. Apart, they keep Will Oldham, Nick Cave, Nina Nastasia and shed loads of other musicians inspired through their contribution as sidemen and collaborators.
If you know their music, feel happy that they've pulled off another swirling mind trip into deserts, oceans and the dark corners of the soul. If you don't know them, you might do well to wait for a chance to hear them live before you make the full commitment. Their music is jazz-like in its spontaneous exploration of some pre-arranged structures and patterns. They exist in the moment of playing, at the fragile point of time when you might just howl in pain, or gasp with terror at their devilish skirls of catgut and snare drum. The music of the Dirty Three is a finely balanced cataclysm, always on the verge of tearing you apart. Their stories of lonely despair and desire have no words and need none.
You might have seen Jim White in Leeds recently. He was hanging about like a car thief at the back of the Brudenell Social Club on the night when Nina Nastasia was doing her Melting Vinyl show. He brought his impeccably loose and expressive style to a brilliant set. On this album he plays so you can listen to every scratch, stroke, hit and ring. His virtuosity is in the tunes he beats out, and the tones and colours of the surfaces he strikes. It's drumming to listen to for its creative musical heart not for it's "technique".
Warren Ellis plays violin with slow swooping and searing lines that reach out into the sky. There's always enough space between the notes to get lost and deranged. On "No Stranger Than That" he rushes up into swirls of crazed Gyptian dance tempo. We're also treated to some beautifully phased double tracking. "Alice Wading" has some very cool pizzicato.
Mick Turner drones and chunks away in huge chords and mysterious juddering lines that tie the two demons together. He only really steps forward in anger on the final track "Rude (And Then Some Slight Return)".