Album Reviews

Barnaby Oliver: My Arms Are Hollow Tubes

The Melbourne-based composer releases his beautiful debut LP.

UK born Melbourne-based composer, Barnaby Oliver, is someone whose seen a lot of the world. Through his compositions, it’s not so much the sound that washes over you; it’s the vivid imagery. Like seeing colours instead of hearing sounds.

Having been involved in a plethora of projects, including Brenin – the mini-opera for BBC Wales which was inspired by the mythical Welsh ancestry of Elvis Presley, Oliver has used his past experiences to capture exquisite snapshots on My Arms Are Hollow Tubes – his debut solo album.

It’s a pedigree that Oliver goes full circle on with My Arms Are Hollow Tubes  – an album that’s likened to gentle strokes across the canvass without any great regard of the final result. An album that is purely whimsical in nature.

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While the crackling drones of the title track create a space for the mind to wander, it’s the forlorn tear-jerking violin thrum of Tallow Stars which is where Oliver finds majestic results, shedding a new emotional intensity from the Dirty Three’s Ends of The Earth.

And the meditative cinematic drama continues with the swelling nightscapes of Glossalia and the woodsy twang of Morning of the World. Sound passages that provide an imagery of a lonely artist plying their trade in some secluded part of the world.

Which provides a shining contrast to The Long Lines. With chiming guitars that rise above a long juddering drone, here Oliver mixes repetitious post-rock with the kind of doom-jazz hybrid The Necks and Oren Ambarchi.

Pan-American Interview: “Memory is the place where inward-facing emotion lives”

It continues with closing composition, Back Going Back. An atmospheric piano-led journey into the great unknown, which encapsulates the grandeur of My Arms Are Hollow Tubes. An album that covers are great deal of ground through the steamy marshlands of experimentation.

From start to finish, Oliver flexes his creative muscle with a series of compositions that may not be bettered from Australian shores this year. The first warning shot in 2022 was delivered by Noir et Blanc with her exquisite debut album, Wallflower Pedestrian. Now we have Barnaby Oliver’s My Arms Are Hollow Tubes, and should be thankful of the fact.

My Arms Are Hollow Tubes is out now viat East Cape Calling. Purchase from Bandcamp.

By Simon Kirk

Product from the happy generation. Proud purple bin owner surviving on music, books and LFC. New book, Welcome To Charmsville, available from all major vendors.

4 replies on “Barnaby Oliver: My Arms Are Hollow Tubes”

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