Not Drowning, Waving


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Invited to visit Papua New Guinea, and collaborate with local musicians (particularly vocalist Telek and his partners in the Moab Stringband), Australian eclectics Not Drowning, Waving produced an album that combines rock and pop textures, ambient production, traditional Papuan material, and then-contemporary PNG musical approaches, though the liner notes warn against any illusion of ethnic musical purity. The effect is often as haunting and entrancing as the best parts of Claim, NDW's U.S. debut, though the best moments all steer clear of the more traditional pop approach in effect on a few tracks. It is these few tracks that weaken Tabaran overall, impeding the musical flow to no good purpose. Countering these more banal incidences are moments of great beauty, including the closing "Funeral Chant." It should be noted that there is a hidden track 9½ minutes after the end of the listed cuts, a brief but amusing stringband outing. Overall, highly recommended.

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