Julian Curwin ‘The Mango Balloon Volume 4′
review by John Shand, Sydney Morning Herald (4.5 stars)
Julian Curwin loves opening trapdoors between set-in-stone idioms and in that sudden transfer of light and ideas, emancipating music from all slavishness to genre. Why he is not the most in-demand film composer in Australia – the world! – I don’t know, as he has the imaginative range and skills to shade any image with a perfect counterpoint. As time has passed he has reined in his instinct for affectionate parody, just as he has pared back his arrangements for his endlessly nuanced band. The music is instantly engaging and variously gentle, witty, sad or dramatic (without becoming histrionic). Each of the 14 pieces creates its own aural world, and yet each bears the unmistakable stamp of Curwin’s unique sonic dreams. This time his own guitars, Marcello Maio’s accordion and piano, Sam Golding’s trumpet and tuba, Mark Harris’ bass, Danny Heifetz’s drums and Jess Ciampa’s percussion are joined by the electric piano of guest Matt McMahon. Together they realise the little compositions with an impeccable blend of flair and restraint, whether leading us through desert soundscapes or tossing pebbles into Blue Lagoon.