William Barton is well known for his cross-genre collaborations and adventurous performance style. We see both on this disc that features his famous didgeridoo playing, married with his talents as a composer. He’s joined here by a formidable line-up of musos, including the Kurilpa String Quartet, vocalist Delmae Barton (William’s mother) and violinist John Rodgers, in a stunning album that sees a blending of classically notated, popular and Indigenous Australian musical styles.
Barton explores the full range and virtuosity of his instrument, with rumbling drones and colourful animal calls – we’re even treated to the expressively plaintive voice of Barton himself. The title track Birdsong at Dusk opens with him singing over rich murmurs in the cello that build to encompass the full quartet. There’s a haunting beauty in this free, open music, before it is transformed into a vibrant dance through the rhythmic spirit of the didgeridoo and clapping sticks.
Petrichore features an impossibly fast dialogue between violin and didgeridoo, with the rapid, bullet- like staccato in the didge answering the busy passagework of John Rodgers’ impressive violin playing. 7/8 not too late is a fascinating, improvisatory didgeridoo solo that at one point breaks out into a sort of pop-inspired beatboxing. Here Barton is creating art that draws on a range of styles and influences that cross cultures and time.