Over the last seven years Brisbane duo Leighton Craig and Sandra Selig have made music together as Primitive Motion, their dreamy, soft-focus blend of piano, saxophone and Selig’s smeared vocals touching upon ethereal dream-pop as much as more ambient influences. Three years on from their preceding ‘Pulsating Time Fibre’ collection, this third album on Melbourne label Bedroom Suck sees Primitive Motion stripping back the layers of instrumentation, with all of the tracks here being recorded live by Craig and Selig right at the moment of their conception.
What’s also particularly intriguing about this album is the way in which the duo have used their home studio space and its surrounding garden as recording artefacts in themselves, with Selig moving between rooms whilst playing her saxophone, and the sounds of birdcalls occasionally leaking into the mix. Throughout these nine tracks, the emphasis falls firmly upon delicate contemplation, and if there’s an occasional leaning towards melancholy, it’s balanced with a sense of graceful optimism.
‘Magnetic Tracks’ sees melodic piano keys trailing gently into focus, the slight distortion to Selig’s accompanying vocals adding a gauzy edge that nicely counterpoints the faded and burnished quality of her saxophone accompaniment, which shifts fluidly from a sense of wounded grandeur to eerie abstract jazz murmurs as her wordless harmonies soar into the higher ends of the register. ‘Feed The Signals’ meanwhile heightens the levels of introspection even more, Selig’s elegant horn arrangements adding a cool jazz feel that brings out the textures in Craig’s rippling piano chords, in an offering that certainly highlights this album’s ‘less is more’ approach.
Elsewhere, ‘Black Shapes Of Mountains’ gets more dark and foreboding as the sound of rain gives way to delay-treated cymbal strokes, Craig’s eerie plangent vocals adding a vaguely unsettling atmosphere as piano keys shiver and birds wheel in the distance. At just a shade under 40 minutes, ‘House In The Wave’ offers up a short but sweet wander out into deep introspection.