candlesnuffer aka david brown

... bathe him in paper ...


as candlesnuffer
mimosa CD
hellosQuare, 2009

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Dan Warburton, The Wire
Whether you choose to see it as heartening proof of the universality of music as a world language, or as a depressing indication of how small the market for improvised music really is and how hard it is for musicians to get together, recent years have seen several notable albums made by improvisers playing 'blind' with each other's prerecorded material, the two volumes of Derek Bailey and Han Bennink's Post Improvisation (Incus 1999) being the most celebrated example.

On Mimosa, Melbourne based guitarist David Brown, aka Candlesnuffer, goes one better - and saves himself the price of a stamp - by, if you forgive the pun, playing with himself. The studio sessions for his 2007 album on Room40, Wakool, yielded over 20 takes that Philip Samartzis chose not to use in his final mix, but which Brown thought "stood up well" and began incorporating in his live concerts, "just sort of playing them randomly to provide some semi-unexpected interactions".

On the at times frustratingly concise Mimosa, seven of whose 12 tracks clock in at under three minutes, Brown repeats the experiment in the studio, without knowing in advance which backing tracks are to be played or which instrument he's about to hear and accompany. In addition to guitar, he plays bandoura, fretless tenor banjo, ukelele and eukolin (ukelin), all of which are prepared with wooden and metallic objects galore, but the odd Country lick still manages to make its way out of the dense forest of thuds, squeaks and plunks. It's a wonderfully scrappy set of pieces that fly off in all directions, and Brown is clearly having as much fun playing as a naughty schoolboy twanging a ruler at the back of the classroom.