Over the last twenty years, multi-instrumentalist / producer Kevin Purdy has proven to be something of a Sydney music institution, with his musical endeavours both solo and as a member of the band Tooth reaching out into increasingly lush terrain coloured with hints of folk, post-rock and psychedelia. Three years on from his preceding ‘Body Variations’ collection, this seventh solo album from Purdy ‘In Transit’ sees his arrangements continuing to grow even more ambitious, taking in musical contributions from The Necks’ Jim Denley (sax, flute), Tangents’ Peter Hollo (cello), Simon Ferenci (trumpet) and Amanda Brown (voice), to name just a few of the guest musicians that appear here.
Compared to Purdy’s preceding albums, the more overt electronics are noticeably pared back on these six tracks, which come across as easily some of the most warm and organically cinematic work he’s released to date. Above all, there’s a sense of warm and enveloping serenity being conjured here, with shards of light bleeding back in just as things start to enter more melancholic waters. It’s something aided in no small part by the exquisitely detailed production here, with opener ‘Set Adrift’ slowly leading the listener in as warm bluesy guitar strokes get delayed out against atmospheric cymbal sweeps and a wash of ambient field recordings, the resultant effect calling to mind hints of Americana as much as it does more UK folk-tinged psychedelia.
From there, ‘Garden Of Delight’ takes things down into more languid waters as slow cymbals and sparse percussion trace a path against effects treated guitar scrapes, only for majestic jazz horns to slowly unfurl like smoke into the foreground, the unhurried oceanic pace of the rhythms that murmur below allowing them plenty of space to stretch out over subtle bass runs. Elsewhere, ‘The View Below’ sees the sound of field recorded wild birds (which forms a recurrent motif here) ushering in wordless vocal harmonies, slow brushed drums and gentle horn melodies, the resultant cinematic crawl calling to mind hints of Morricone as eerie flickering textures gradually build up in the mix. It’s ‘The Five Dimensional Waltz’ that really forms the centrepiece of this album though, its twelve minute running length broken up into five mini-sections that build from ebbing ambient space blues into serene, prog-tinged country rock that suggests ‘Harvest’-era Neil Young taking a space walk out into the vast, yet curiously inviting void. A characteristically classy return from Purdy – this could easily be his most fully realised collection yet.