Tall Poppies


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Cambewarra Mountain

David Lumsdaine (soundscape)

$23   (Australian dollars)


buy at: AMC - Buywell - iTunes

About 2 hours south of Sydney is the beautiful Kangaroo Valley, the eastern end of which rises to Cambewarra Mountain. Lush rainforest and cedar forests are havens for an astonishing array of birdlife, including whipbirds and lyrebirds. These recordings were made by Australian composer David Lumsdaine and are state-of-the-art. The CD progresses through the diurnal cycle and the seasonal cycle.

Late Spring- First Nocturne
- Spring Dawn Chorus
- After sunrise
- Late afternoon
- Sunset to dusk
Summer- Second nocturne
- Summer dawn chorus
- After surise
- Dusk and third nocturne


If you walk into virtually any tourist-oriented shop in Australia, you'll find a rack of CDs and cassettes with titles like Sounds of the Australian Bush, or A Walk Through The Rainforest. …So what unalloyed joy to hear David Lumsdaine's disc! Lumsdaine has all the right credentials. Since the early 1960s, he has composed some exceptionally rich music, the product of a thoughtful, profound and intricate imagination; he is also a distinguished ornithologist with considerable experience of recording natural sounds. The composer's hand in Cambewarra Mountain is not immediately obvious; what we hear are the sounds of the recording locations in Kangaroo Valley, NSW, with nothing added. But as Gustav Holst once observed, a composer's most vital piece of equipment is an eraser, and this describes well enough Lumsdaine's approach, which has been to reduce many hours of recordings to the 70 minutes that appear here.… There are two principal ways in which one can listen to the piece. The first is to follow the detailed programme notes that identify the participating birds: it is perfectly possible to treat the disc as an ornithological sampler. The other method of listening is altogether more abstract. There are times, especially in the dawn choruses, when the interlocking patterns of song take on a purely musical character and one begins to imagine that one is listening to a real-time electronic composition, the composer sitting at a control desk, deftly twiddling his oscillator knobs. Most likely, listeners will find themselves oscillating – drifting from a careful registering of the birds' identities into a profound reverie as abstraction takes over, only to be startled into full consciousness by a brilliant solo turn from a Green Catbird or one of Lumsdaine's other star performers: 'What the hell was that?' you think, reaching for the booklet. The more one listens, the more one appreciates that the selection and ordering of these sounds, coupled with the judicious placing of microphones in the environment has produced music of frankly symphonic proportions.
Andrew Ford
24 Hours April 1996

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 TP (1-901)



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