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David Bridie - Act Of Free Choice
By Vanessa Hodge

28th Apr 2001

David Bridie is a musical genius. Go and buy Act of Free Choice now. No, really I mean it. Don't think about it. As Mr Nike says - just do it. You know you're onto a good thing when as soon as you hear the first note of the first track you're forced to stand still and listen to the rest of the song hoping that it will live up to your expectations. It gets better, the whole album is like this, all of it. It's beautiful. A long time ago before they invented CD's there used to be a thing called records. Now you couldn't fast forward or skip to the next track you just had to listen. Bands would spend hours deliberating over the track order simply because it was important. That's what happened here. This album has got it right.

Now I know it sounds like I'm just bigging up this artist and I'm sure some of you are thinking I must be on the payroll somewhere along the line, but I hadn't even heard of this man until last Saturday. I haven't been excited about an album for a long time not since Death in Vegas released "The Contigo Sessions" but this has given me hope that somewhere out there beyond Hear' Say and Atomic S***ten someone actually knows how to make good music.

It was however, a long time coming. Fifteen years in fact. As I said less than a week ago I'd never heard of the geezer, but he's big in Australia. OK maybe that's not the best selling point, it's a bit like saying Bonnie Tyler's big in Germany. But if I tell you the album was co produced by Ian Caple a man who has worked with Tricky and was influential in constructing record label Warp will you stick with it?

Imagine a massive pot into which each strain of excellent sound had been soldered together. He even describes it as "a kind of Kraftwerk meets Belle and Sebastian." What a stunning combination - Kraftwerk being the foundation of modern music and Belle and Sebastian being, well, responsible for causing confusion at the Brits a couple of years ago.

If any of you have ever seen that toss pot Jamie Oliver on the telly you'll know he's always banging on about "fusion." That's exactly what this album is all about, a fusion of dark ethereal noises with choppy raw funky sounds. If I was writing for the Sunday Times culture section I'd probably say something about how the album reflects Bridie's musical journey whilst being his debut solo project. But all that is perfectly clear from the album.

Each individual track stands out, but meshes perfectly into a fantastic album.Take the first track "The Koran, The Ghan and A Yarn" its haunting melody makes the hairs on the back of your neck jump up, or "The Deserters" which has a strange sort of naivety about it. But "Sad" is the track that stands out for me, with its leftfieldesque dark beats it's heavy, the music weighs itself upon you and it's almost like you can't breathe.

Go find someone who understands your mind and get them to listen to this album. And like I said don't skip tracks.

Fuzzclog Music Review