Monday, 7 January 2013

Rainforest - Andrew Richardson (1985)

Here is another recording from Victorian flautist Andrew Richardson, the man responsible for Expanse and the Sally/Dive single. Rainforest is an ambient, fairly free-form piece which couples solo flute performances with Australian field recordings and a few other accompaniments. It’s a very sparse record and I must admit that I would like to have heard more structure and rhythmic flow. On the few occasions on Rainforest where Richardson does augment his solo flute playing it lifts the material considerably, such as the distant rhythmic rumbling percussion on Dense and the unexpected and brief appearance of a choir section in Shady Rill.

I am always interested in Australian recordings which incorporate field recordings and Rainforest uses this technique well - the fusion between these sounds and the flute playing feels very natural. The recordings are predominantly birds calling, the most obvious species being Rufous Whistler (Pachycephala rufiventris), White-throated Treecreeper (Cormobates leucophaea), Grey Fantail (Rhipidura albiscapa) and the Australian Magpie (Cracticus tibicen). This particular combination of species suggests that these recordings were made in dry temperate woodland in the southeast of Australia - which is actually a very different habitat type to the tropical rainforests that Richardson alludes to on the LP cover.

On the back of the sleeve Andrew writes: Australia is blessed with some of the world’s most magnificent rainforests. This recording represents a journey through one of these beautiful rainforests; and an attempt to make people conscious of these areas of rare and fragile beauty. As mankind is propelled into the Twenty-first Century these regions are unique, and must be saved in their entirety - not destroyed for short-term profit. One of Australia’s dedicated rainforest ecologists, CAROLE HELMAN, describes the Daintree Rainforest in north east Queensland as “one of the world’s most important tropical rainforests, because it is the home of the world’s most primitive tropical rainforest plant families.” The distinguished naturalist, DAVID ATTENBOROUGH, described Queensland’s rainforests as “one of the most breathtaking wild areas in the world, unbelievably beautiful, unbelievably interesting. There are birds, mammals and plants there that are unique. Beyond any dispute it is a treasure.”

Label: A.R.M. Digital
Released: 1985
Players: Andrew Richardson - flutes
Tapes - Jim Moginie
Tapes - Michael Gissing
Bells - Adrienne Overall


  1. Interesting ... note that one of the tapes guys is Jim Mogini (guitarist/songwriter of Midnight Oil).

  2. Well spotted Simon, I didn't recognise the name at all. I've just found that Moginie and Richardson (AKA Howlin' Wind) have collaborated a few times, most recently on an oceanic-themed concept album from 2003 called The Blessing - currently listening to the previews on iTunes and it sounds pretty cool!

  3. this is great, rohan. many thanks

  4. No worries Flash, glad you enjoyed it.