• Meg Benson, Music Hunter

Album review: Paul Cutlan's Across the Top


We listeners are inducted to encounter ACROSS THE TOP a new album composed by Paul Cutlan, as if it's our first ever discovery of music. Perhaps this is because of its suspenseful, vivid and emotive score.

For me the title fits with two levels of creme de la creme. The first being due to the calibre of musicians Paul Cutlan, Brett Hirst , and the Noise (Veronique Serret, Liisa Pallandi, James Eccles, Olliver Miller (and special guest Mara Kiek).

The second is related to the skimming from chamber music, improvised jazz and Eastern European musics intricately constructed into something entirely new.

In contrast, far from being 'surface like' or superficial, Cutlan's music takes us into the depths of existential extremes similar to an epic movie soundtrack, a total experience where the heartbeat of the moment is ever present through intense longing, uncertainty, fiery intent, despair, graceful surrender, self-soothing and hope. It left me with a feeling that perhaps there will be a sequel. I'm hoping.

This is art designed to enrich the listener. Not muzak for background listening.

The Paul Cutlan String Project performs music from their album Across the Top in the Blue Mountains at Springwood Hub on November 25 and in Sydney at Paddington Uniting Church on December 4.


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