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.
To celebrate 5 years running as a label, Romero Records has just made their first 3 releases available for download on Bandcamp – that includes The Tango Saloon’s ‘Shadows & Fog’ and ‘Transylvania’, as well as the sci-fi/lounge/metal weirdness of Darth Vegas. Definitely worth revisiting, have a listen…
Next month, Romero Records will put on a very special event to celebrate 5 years in operation. It will centre around an album launch for The Mango Balloon: Volume 4 (featuring keyboardist extraordinaire Matt McMahon) and will also include surf rockers La Tarantella, and Micky Stu’s Magical Polymba Experience (aka Mick Stuart).
April 20th at Lazybones Lounge in Marrickville, join the party!
For the start of 2017, a slight change of pace… Cannibal Spiders is a new surf/punk ‘super group’ featuring Salooners Julian Curwin and Danny Heifetz, alongside regular Tango Saloon/Mango Balloon guest Brian Campeau and all-round nice guy Abel Cross. Check out the new album here, and see them launch it February 17 at Lazybones Lounge in Marrickville.
In other news, The Mango Balloon Volume 4 is moments away from completion. The special guest this time around is Matt McMahon, one of the finest keyboard players in the land. It’s sounding mighty fine, if we do say so ourselves, looking forward to sharing it with you very soon!
On September 15, Pigeon Laundry launch their debut album – for the uninitiated, this is the duo project of The Tango Saloon leader Julian Curwin and regular Tango Saloon/Mango Balloon guest Shenzo Gregorio. For the launch the pair will be joined by fellow Salooners Jess Ciampa, Sam Golding and John Hibbard, and supported by Diamond Duck.
Book ahead to avoid disappointment (and for cheaper tickets).
The band has also been releasing a series of promotional videos leading up to the launch, check them out in this playlist.
The Mango Balloon is currently recording its fourth album (imaginatively titled ‘Volume 4’), which will feature Matt McMahon. One of Australia’s finest pianists, Matt is known for playing a wide range of music with the likes of Vince Jones, Phil Slater and Joseph Tawadros, as well as his own ensembles.
The debut performance of this collaboration, and your first chance to hear these new pieces, will be July 31st at Django Bar.
The Tango Saloon bandleader Julian Curwin, and regular Tango Saloon/Mango Balloon guest Shenzo Gregorio, join forces to create Pigeon Laundry, an odd little project that will make you laugh, cry, think, maybe do some stupid little dance… Preview the album here and keep updated on the release at the band’s facebook page.