Woozy, wandering, drifting and swaying are all words that might represent the aural tellings of this album by the mysterious Aussies collective called Blue Divers. Some of this recalls Yo La Tengos prettiest instrumentals to me with guitars, keys, and muffled percussion that creates a sonic palette that's akin to the last rays of sun on a late afternoon, just as it’s setting and singing you sweetly home.
Favorite track: Midday Dirt.
Blue Divers are an experimental, instrumental group led by Alec Marshall (Hot Palms, Sui Zhen). Currently based in Thirroul, NSW, the project is named after the bushcare group in Marshall’s hometown of Towradgi. Made up of a rotating ensemble of players, Blue Divers is the fruition of numerous years of improvisation and experimentation in various live spaces and studio sessions around the country.
Their debut longplayer, Blue Divers, spawned out of time spent in isolation earlier this year. Encouraged by label head Joe Alexander to contribute to the Private Eyes series, Alec initially thought he was contributing a single to a compilation album. When realising a whole record was on the cards, Marshall scrounged whatever recording gear he had laying around - old tape recorders, a cheap interface, a microphone and his brother’s work laptop, and began recording as Covid lockdowns set in earlier this year.
Powered by his own limitations, Marshall invites us into his uplifting and at times insular world, a world that glistens like the salt-thickened air of the coastal regions where this music was created. The record is a series of ephemeral soundscapes that act as personal moments in time. Like a daydream, each song daintily weaves into another with ease. As a result, Blue Divers feels more like a mediation than a traditional album.
The intimacy in the record is highlighted by the subtle nuance of guitar that weaves through delicate piano playing and the warm sounds of tape saturation that carry each track. It is as if the listener is sitting on the bedroom floor, watching the band record - despite Alec and his collaborators Jordan Ireland (The Middle East), Ashley Bundang (Classic, Sui Zhen, Totally Mild) and Carla Oliver (Badskin) being forced to collaborate remotely via the internet.
I heard this album for the first time right after my Father had passed and am forever grateful it entered my life. Aside from the deep emotional connection, musically, this is one of the most creative albums I've heard. Each track is another world and pushes the meaning "Banjo player" in a new direction! realhdna