I was first switched on to TDBoP by a friend called Andi. Andi eventually moved down to Folkestone on the South Coast and eventually ended up putting on a one day festival – Plunge was it’s name. I played that festival alongside Mark Kluzek’s The Doomed Bird of Providence. I completely fan-boyed all over them but they laughed it off. I have been following TDBoP for years now so it is a real privilege to be invited to review their latest offering. I admit I have not reviewed anything for a good few weeks now – but this plucked me out of my comfort zone so much I needed to write down what I thought of Burrowed Into The Soft Sky.
We are delighted to herald the return of The Doomed Bird of Providence, presenting their third album Burrowed into the Soft Sky – this time discarding Mark Kluzek’s vocals in favour of two twenty minute instrumentals that continue Kluzek’s obsessive and singular foray into early Australian colonial history. – F&F
But, what do I make to the album Burrowed Into The Soft Sky – can i chip in my two-pennies? – is it up there with Will Ever Pray or have they fallen short? Well, there is a marked difference in their latest release in that there are no vocals. Recorded with a vinyl release in mind, this two track album is purely instrumental. And what bleak instrumentals they are at that.
Continuing Kluzek’s singular & one way foray to early colonial history, the title track Burrowed Into The Soft Sky is not the sea-shanty-funeral-hymn of Will Ever Pray – is is a genre defying, brilliant and often eccentric take on a passage in Patrick White’s novel Voss. The book, Voss, is very loosely based on the final (and fatal) journey through the northern regions of Australia by German explorer Ludwig Leichardt. Kluzek took a passage from the book where a comet passes over and Voss, his team and a tribe of Australian Aboriginals engage with and interpret the experience until it is ‘burrowed into the soft sky.’
With The Blood Dimmed Tide (the second track in the two-track album), according to the press release forwarded to me by Justin at Front & Follow, Kluzek shines a light on an atrocity that occurred in the North East of Australia with the “dispersal” of a tribe, “by shooting them down – men, women and children, the object being to destroy as many as possible.” This is based on accounts written down in the book Exclusion, Exploitation and Extermination: Race Relations In Colonial Queensland (R Evens, K Saunders, K Cronin). Tragically, attacks on tribes in this fashion were commonplace.
However, whilst the influences of this body of music are singing to us from old tomes – there is something distinctly un-academic about the linear nature of The Blood Dimmed Tide. Kluzek & co. mapped out the linear narrative of a skirmish and played it out through music. Which makes this very uncomfortable listening.
The band took these maps and interpreted the symbols and written annotations as they saw fit for the most part. – F&F
Most of the album was recorded in London with time spent in Halifax and Colchester. The end results are the sum of a large scale collaborative venture, lead by Kluzek’s ideas but fleshed out by the varied creative approaches of each individual involved. Sonically all over the place; this is not an ‘easy’ listen – but, what does it do?
With TDBoP’s Burrowed Into The Soft Sky I am tempted to say they succeeded. But what did they succeed in? TDBoP conveyed to me the sheer horror and barbarity of life in early colonial Australia in only two tracks. This is The Doomed Bird Of Providence’s finest work yet – yet – I cannot bring myself to listen to the album for a good few days to come: it is barbarous, it is bloody, it is brutal. It is the work of a genius. With Will Ever Pray death was just a verse away – with Burrowed Into The Soft Sky you are watching a massacre.
Released on Front & Follow on September 1st 2017 – I really recommend you get this album ….