Mark Kluzek has chronicled-in-sound many a tale of colonial crime and bloodshed in Australia with his band Doomed Bird of Providence. On this new EP, Rumbling Clouds of War Hover over Us, Kluzek moves closer to his music in time and person with these four instrumental songs inspired by his grandfather Władysław Kluzek’s escape from war-wrecked Poland.
Less stormy than the band’s previous release, the utterly bleak Burrowed Into The Soft Sky, with it’s two long halves of violent distress, this release finds the band in relatively light mood, given the subject matter. There’s a grind and slog to the arrangements, but also a hopefulness, even a sweetness to some of it, but not cloying, merely optimistic: a distant goal of safety in mind. The songs are a lilting and plodding combination of piano, bass, drums, accordion, xylophone, guitars and violin; Part 1 is particularly affecting, a mournful sparsely picked-out piano tune is woven in and out of a lightly-stitched string arrangement with the drums and remaining instruments providing a tired-footed tread. The rest of the songs proceed similarly, a deft mixture of the heavily struck and delicately plucked, with a swooning and swerving drone from the accordion.
There is something vintage and not to the sound of The Doomed Bird of Providence, old folk combined with modern post-rocks peaks and troughs. Given the evocative lushness of their music, it’s tempting to tag the band as ‘cinematic’ in that their music so easily prompts an imagined visual response, but this is too reductive; their sound is rewarding in its own right without any of the surrounding context.
That aside, the context is where The Doomed Bird of Providence rewards the long-term listener. As a project, the band have, without merely propping up unremarkable compositions, enriched their music with the surrounding stories and research. The dread-drone of Burrowed Into The Soft Sky was nudged into the realm of the truly horrific by its reflection on the massacre of aboriginal people. Their other releases are well-worth reading around as this will only help with fully appreciating Kluzek’s vision as a whole: a music of large engulfing events wrought in small and necessarily uncomfortable human tales.
All proceeds from purchases go to MÉDECINS SANS FRONTIÈRES.