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An Act Of Free Choice

David Bridie
has had a long and eminent musical career. From the critically acclaimed, worldly sounds of Not Drowning Waving to My Friend the Chocolate Cake, of which he was lead singer and songwriter, Bridie has managed to prosper in the Australian music scene without resorting to staid classic pub rock.

Act Of Free Choice is a testament to Bridie's inventiveness and perfectionism. Thanks largely to the production wizardry of UK uber-producer Ian Caple - who is best known for his work with Tricky and Tindersticks - Bridie has made an album that is evocative, atmospheric and deeply personal without being self-indulgent or alienating.

It's an appropriate title for this album. For the first time, Bridie has had the opportunity to craft an odyssey of sound and song that is all his own. Most of the recording and engineering was done on Bridie's home computer in various picturesque locations in country Victoria.

Bridie has a single-mindedness, sometimes to the point of being stubborn, that shows through on the album. Act Of Free Choice is almost cinematic in the imagery it evokes, Bridie's experience in film soundtrack production (his work on In A Savage Land scored him an AFI Award last year) shining through. The album is a deeply textured, multi-layered amalgam of live instruments, obscure samples from such unusual origins as conch shells and poorly tuned two-way radios and beat machines.

Although not quite pure electronica, Act Of Free Choice is a courageous departure from traditional, mainstream Australian music. It is a disc for the other side of the party - an album for relaxing and reflecting. Tranquil and moody, Act Of Free Choice is focussed and mature offering from a man who knows where he's at.

There's no angst or self-pity here. It is an album from a man who has grown up and left the drugs and groupies behind in favour of a grim acceptance of the way things are.

Aaron Bertram

Yahoo! Music/Juice.net
Friday 5 May
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