The classics: September 25

Christopher de Groot: Sailing Ships and Tarot Cards. Rattle CD

Melbourne-based Christopher de Groot is keen on the highly-textured sounds of 1960s exotica, and this recent disc contains 28 short tracks from his soundtrack composed for the Australian film The Burning Kiss. This music is performed by de Groot  (his list of 22 instruments including many flutes, keyboards and synthesizers ) with other musicians from the band Slide Night. There is a 16-piece flute choir and a "homemade gamelan" in the mix as well as some group chanting. Asha Henery plays the flutes, Callum Moncrief  vibraphone, congas and hand percussion, with Cecilia Low and David Karsten (vocals), and Nic Synot (double bass).

These short items fulfil the purpose of sounding like film music, with some unorthodox tracks of more interest than others as it provides ‘‘a landscape of changing moods, leaving you breathless and eager to hear it again’’ in the words of an Australian radio announcer.

I surmise that the film portrayed some interesting sea cruises and moonlit scenes in tropical places with a lacing of location sound bites, mysterious events, and weird or supernatural themes. This is the rich and fascinating auditory world conjured up by de Groot, who also recorded and mixed the disc. Of course, some viewers of the film may not have been particularly struck by all the sound effects, if they blended in properly with action.  De  Groot says film music is a ‘‘tricky beast’’ and the success of the music is always tied to the success of the film. But his CD will allow a new audience to focus on it.

Verdict: Daring but interesting film soundtrack.

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