Clas­si­cal

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Vin­cent Plush Tim McNa­mara

Home Greta Brad­man ABC Clas­sics Af­ter her ac­claimed first al­bum, My Hero, al­most three years ago, Greta Brad­man returns with an af­fect­ing col­lec­tion of adored mu­sic. Ev­ery lis­tener will share some of her memories ex­pressed here: songs sung and passed down by grand­par­ents, in church choirs or through favourite ra­dio pro­grams. It is hard to avoid shed­ding a tear of recog­ni­tion lis­ten­ing to Home Sweet Home, with Suzanne Han­del’s trans­port­ing harp ac­com­pa­ni­ment, or to the Bach/Gounod Ave Maria with an ex­quis­ite vi­o­lin solo from Nat­suko Yoshi­moto. Brad­man’s home city fig­ures promi­nently: through­out, the Ade­laide Sym­phony Orches­tra, con­ducted by Luke Doll­man, pro­vides a re­fined if some­what muted back­drop. Sev­eral of the ar­range­ments are by arch-or­ches­tra­tor Richard Mills. The Ade­laide Chamber Singers — the ensem­ble with whom Brad­man gave some of her ear­li­est per­for­mances — fig­ure mod­estly but gra­ciously. Less so the pres­ence of St Peter’s Cathe­dral, where the 21 tracks on this al­bum were recorded in May 2014. If any­thing, the gen­er­ous acous­tic of the lofty cathe­dral yields a dif­fuse sound, which the record­ing barely man­ages to tame. One won­ders if this is a new golden age of singing in Aus­tralia, In re­cent months Brad­man, Ni­cole Car and Lo­rina Gore have re­leased won­der­ful al­bums, largely of op­er­atic arias. While Brad­man pro­fesses to have many more songs she would like to record, some of her fans might wish to see her step fur­ther afield into con­tem­po­rary clas­si­cal pieces or songs from the great shows. The range of mu­sic on this al­bum shows she is ca­pa­ble of turn­ing her mind and voice to vir­tu­ally any­thing. Bor­der­ing on down­tempo, and jazzy in parts, Cere­bral Hemi­spheres is an al­bum to sink into slowly. There are few peak-time tunes here but Heard’s fo­cus on emo­tive vo­cals, live in­stru­men­ta­tion and pol­ished pro­duc­tion make it an im­mer­sive and re­ward­ing lis­ten.

First sin­gle and al­bum opener Full Moon sets the scene as a sig­na­ture rolling bassline com­bines with me­an­der­ing beats, a soul­ful vo­cal, eerie keys and sax­o­phone. On Sands of Aruba, Heard melds lush live per­cus­sion with sax­o­phone and keys. A Day in Por­tu­gal is al­most Balearic, both at­mo­spheric and dreamy. Elec­tron is sin­is­ter, built around an ur­gent synth line and per­cus­sion, while the pound­ing late-night daze of In­ner Acid makes for an al­bum stand­out. Ni­cole Wray closes pro­ceed­ings with a warm, R&B-in­spired vo­cal on Praise to the Vibes. There are so many grooves here, of vary­ing tem­pos, that demon­strate the ver­sa­til­ity of the house genre and the con­tin­u­ing rel­e­vance of one of its cre­ators.

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