"I've been a fan of David Hirschfelder ever since he was prancing around in strap-on synth and long cape with John Farnham. In reality, though, I've been as much a fan of his musical sensibility as his impressive keyboard chops (or fashion sense).
I have particular admiration for his versatility. His arrangements for Jesus Christ Superstar were scintillating bombast; Shine showcased his profound feel for the masters; and here we find him, just as effectively, in tight-knit jazz ensemble mode.
There is a fabulously raw presence to the recordings. It's like being invited into the musician's studio. Or inviting them into your boudoir perhaps? Hirschfelder's compositions are appropriately seductive, and his delicate piano touch is nicely complemented by crystal clean guitars, shimmering ride cymbals from which you can almost here the glint of metal, and warm but muscular contrabass.
Despite the film's title and the prevailing mood, this is not hyper-orgasmic freeform jazz. It's clever and elaborate, for sure, but also tasteful and controlled. The gracious lacking of pretentiousness enhances its impact.
There are many highlights to Hirschfelder's compositions, but my fav would have to be the sinewy Day Three To London that concludes the disc. It's multi-sectioned, diverse in its dynamics, yet masterfully flowing. Underpinning the journey from the start is Phil Buckle's flamingly funky guitar vamp.
Sharing disc space with Hirschfelder are a variety of well-above average Australian songs in blues, soul and jazz veins. Surprisingly, the latter is curtesy of Kylie Minogue. What an evolution! From singing budgie to smoky-lounge nightingale, no less. Sure she ain't yet in the Ella Fitzgerald class - ok, not in the same universe - but from her first sultry phrases it's obvious she's come a long way since her stock-standard, Aching and Watery days. Now a genuine chanteuse, without loosing an ounce of that spritely sex-appeal, I'd sure like to see her do a Michelle Pfeiffer Fabulous Baker Boy's-style turn atop a Steinway.
Michael Spiby proves he's lost none of the soul of his Badloves days - surely the finest Australian band never to make it big - with the ultra smooth Reasonable Reason? And You Am I demonstrate a surprising maturity with a very classy guitar and string arrangement on Open All Night.
It's tremendously encouraging when Australian soundtracks as good as this one land on my desk. Seductive and satisfying, it's worth a whole lot more than a one night spin."
Publication date: November 9, 2000