What a brilliant source of inspiration! Each of this album’s 12 works is a response to a photograph taken by Belinda Webster in Shoalhaven Gorge. The images, often of rock formations with anthropomorphic echoes, can be equally beautiful and disquieting. Enter composer Sandy Evans and a series of musical sketches to form the basis for improvised duets and solos evoking these startling images. The result is Evans’s most absorbing album ever. The music can be chilling, exultant, soothing, moving or mind-expanding, but it never just treads water.
Evans’s soprano or tenor saxophones (the former sometimes sounding uncannily flute-like on the album’s dramatic opener, Rock Water Temple) are variously joined by Satsuki Odamura’s koto and bass koto, Steve Elphick’s double bass, Bobby Singh’s tabla and Adrian Sherriff’s bass trombone. Additionally Alon Ilsar offers three striking solo pieces using AirSticks (an electronic percussion instrument of his own devising), samples and drums. Sparked by Webster’s exceptional eye for the high art Nature crafts, this is a major contribution to the canon of Australian creative music.