CD review by Roger Holdsworth
I remember hearing the sounds of electric viola/ violin wafting across Melbourne University lawns late at night in about 1969, as Claes Pearce practiced with a group that was to become MacKenzie Theory (remember them?).
Over the years, she has worked in many groups and with many artists (such as on Kev Carmody’s Bloodlines CD).
Importantly, Claes got together with Stephen Berry (guitars) and Greg Sheehan (percussion) in the 1980s and 90s for three great albums under the name Coolangubra (named after their NSW location).
Spirit Talk was issued in 1996 on Ekhart Rahn’s Celestial Harmonies – a well respected international label that frequently has featured otherwise overlooked artists from around the globe.
Coolangubra’s music draws on music that could be described as folk or jazz or ambient, often with distinctively Australian soundscapes. On Spirit Talk, the influences are even more diverse: ‘Pattugalan’ with its Filipino jews harp evoking ‘there may be a snake coming!’; John Coltrane inspiring and affirming improvisation; ‘Butterfly Dance’ making a tribute to Australia’s cultural diversity; ‘Cemetery Road’ and ‘Solitude’ reflecting on death and birth.
This is not an album for nostalgia however, as its music remains as moodily important and communicative fi fteen years later, as it was when fi ngers and bows touched these instruments. It should be an essential part of your Australian CD collection.