07 Allison BuritRealm
Allison Burik
Independent (allisonburik.bandcamp.com)

As a gender-fixed male, I bear some shadowy traits that may include misogyny, and certainly some measure of toxicity; these are my boulder on the slope, if you’ll allow it. And how might this disclosure bear on this review? I can’t deny that I was reluctant or even unwilling to engage with Realm, featuring the music and performance of Allison Burik. Such subtext as one can read in the liner notes and source materials of the disc’s inspirations would indicate a staunch, maybe even aggressive, feminism in the author, with a certain degree of warning of the potential cost of being a disrespectful male. Track 6, Heiemo og Nykken, references a folk tale wherein an attempted seduction of N by H (the dark spirit of the deeps) ends badly for H(im). 

But, you see, it’s all deeply beautiful, if mostly sombre. The multi-abled Burik plays and sings overlays of bass clarinet, alto sax and flute, as well as guitar. Their voice is true, although there is a risky low low alto vocal that pairs in fantastic fragmenting unison pitch with the bass clarinet. Beware such witchery! It’s potent. 

I am enamored of the kind of instrumentalism where beauty of tone results from musicianship, and only in its service. Such is the approach I hear here; I believe we are all in some ways vain, but mostly it’s just better to be good. Burik makes the instruments work, with surprising and fascinating techniques.  

I could go on, but you won’t benefit from reading more description, and there are confines I would exceed. Better you should grab the disc, the beauty outbids the fearsomeness. The final track is built around a poem by Sappho, and it’s stunning.

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Author: Max Christie
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