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Padang Food Tigers Born Music Review

Album. Released 2011.  

BBC Review

London duo creates a space for contemplation that's hard to resist.

Colin Buttimer 2011

At a mere wisp over half-an-hour in length, Born Music is brief, gone almost before it's arrived. Yet its consistency of mood and approach means that it remains in the memory long afterwards. Subtle sonic tones and a sense of unhurried progress create a space for contemplation that's hard to resist.

Born Music begins with the sound of a river. Fluttering, tentative notes leave lots of room to hear the flow of water. Rise Before the Rain maintains the lambent atmospheres of the opening track; there's a sense of warmth, peace and perhaps a hint of expectation. The evocatively titled Corpse Light Breaker is all pendant notes left to hang like sunlight glimmering on the aforementioned river. Upbeat Hummer just lives up to its name: it's upbeat, at least in the context of its neighbours, and if you concentrate a gentle ghost of a melody haunts its two-minute duration.

The album's 10 songs function as variations on a single theme. Sink into one song and the others ebb effortlessly around it. Place the whole thing on repeat and your afternoon might drift away without you noticing. Padang, Indonesia's capital of West Sumatra, might well be where you end up – either as an armchair traveller, or with a rucksack on your back.

Born Music doesn't so much navigate a course, but begins, continues and ends. It's ambient music played in the spirit of Brian Eno's On Land, with a strong sense of place and presence, but performed on acoustic instruments. As well as the aforementioned water, there's birdsong, the rush of wind, whispered words, distant fireworks.

Padang Food Tigers also explore the legacy of Ry Cooder's much-loved soundtrack for the film Paris, Texas. There's that same sense of emptiness, mournfulness, of lost love. There's also the close-mic'ed mechanics of the playing, the brief screech of fingers on strings, and the undertow of the blues. Born Music is a melodious sonic picture, an extended moment.

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