Linsey Pollak & Lizzie O’Keefe album




danger resThis is different. Usually to be heard playing wind instruments of his own devising, here Linsey Pollak plays the sounds of endangered or extinct aquatic creatures via a digital wind instrument, the sampled sounds now controlled via his breath, lips and fingering. He uses looping to layer some of these into ostinatos, and meanwhile, drifting amid them, comes the mostly wordless singing of Lizzie O’Keefe. The upshot is not the sort of new-age noodling designed to bore the listener to death, however, but one of striking immediacy.

Yes, the sounds are eerie and even otherworldly, but O’Keefe’s luminous singing is often dappled with a profound sadness that humanises what have could have been an ecologically well-meant but rather academic exercise. Pollak, a force in Australian creative music for 40 years, brings a dazzling breadth of imagination to bear in using these elements to create instantly engaging pieces, in which organic and more electronic sounds intermingle and dance like a school of tropical fish about O’Keefe’s yearning soprano. An element of drifting playfulness is even allowed to aerate the waters on the delightful Anemone.