Track 4: "Laguna":
Track 5: "Flow":
"Warning: placing this CD into your player is like diving straight in off the deep end. Westbrook has created a remarkably synaesthetic collection of soundscapes, following up the work she begun with 2003's Wave, and this is one wave that could very easily sweep you away in a riptide of sonic beauty.
"Big As The Ocean is moody, dark and aptly-titled: certain moments do conjure not just images but feelings of the gentle swell of a moonlit, wine-dark sea at midnight, the gentle strains of Westbrook's double bass standing in for whale-song, or perhaps the creak of a passing galleon. Before long, you'll find yourself in a place you don't want to come back from, because it makes your own world seem small and banal by comparison.
"The album oozes creativity and flair, as the classically-trained Westbrook (accompanied by her band and special guests) guides the listener through a world of her own making. From the threat and urgency of Chant to the brittle delicacy of Amoeba, the emotions evoked by this album ebb and flow like a body of water. A remarkably poignant record; listen in the dark, with your eyes closed, and let it bear you off into the unknown.
Track 7: Van Diemens Land:
Track 4: Wave:
"If Dirty Three's hairy crescendos keep jolting you from the couch in fright, Melbourne strings player Rosie Westbrook may be the answer to your next late-night crisis. The slow, slightly uncomfortable scrape of Bells sets the moody tone of this cinematic instrumental trip, a study in graceful seafaring atmospheres with just the odd guest - the occasional drummer and slide guitarist, most often Models guitar player Sean Kelly - adding to her layered bowing and plucking.
"Although the album is lyric-free, the tight, song-like structures of Tender and Ghosts make the difference between shapeless ambience and something more hummable. Things are made more exciting by the dynamic likes of Desert and, particularly, Botanic, a fuzzed-up, electric climax that recalls the more cathartic experiments of King Crimson's heavy period. Van Diemen's Land perhaps boasts the catchiest melody, but several tracks continue to haunt the house long after you've dried your eyes and pulled yourself together. Wave is an album you can love as well as wallow in."
Michael Dwyer, The Age, 21.3.03
"Rosie Westbrook's album of instrumental compositions carves out moody, beautiful atmospheres, moving into the musical territory of fellow Melburnians the Dirty Three.
"Westbrook plays acoustic and electric guitars, bass and tubophone, but the most central and mesmerising textures in the songs come from her achingly restrained double bass. With contributions on slide guitar from Sean Kelly and Penny Ikinger, the album feels more like an architectural soundscape of slightly shifting moods than a set of songs. This is beautifully mellow and lovingly played music to get lost in."
Kelsey Munro, Sydney Morning Herald, 18.7.03
"WESTBROOK, a classically trained double bassist, has worked with symphony orchestras, theatre productions and rock artists like Sean Kelly and Dan Brodie but Wave underlines her own talents as an instrumental composer. Wave plays like a film score without a film, gently brushing colours, textures and moods with a band featuring ex-Model Kelly and violinist Tom Fitzgerald. There is tension, too, in darker, ominous pieces like the title tune, but melody is always to the fore, the sound mostly restrained but always highly visual."
Noel Mengel, Brisbane Courier Mail, 22.3.03
"Wave is like a sweet slow motion dream of falling."
Michael Dwyer, The Age/Rolling Stone
"These are small, gentle sweeps of music that might slide past the neurons almost unannounced, if it were not for Westbrook sometimes nailing a melody so sweetly it hardwires itself into your memory. Her fluid double bass shapes these instrumentals in a manner not unlike that of David Darling, whose cello playing redefines that instrument.
"Westbrook turned to her little black book only a few times, seeking help from a handful of musicians to add mostly nuance to the sparse arrangements (notably Sean Kelly) on guitars).
"Small, but significant, their sometimes pennyweight contributions feather the contours of Westbrook's delicate ideas of the isolation between desert and ocean waves.
"It is heartbreaking to think how many Australians are charmed by the insignificance of vapid New Age tosh when beautiful music like this is made and played so regularly."
Pete Best, Sunday Herald Sun, 30.3.03
"Appropriately titled this album from Melbourne guitarist and double bassist Rosie Westbrook - its string-based instrumental creations, rising, falling, ebbing, flowing, rearing, crashing just like the sea. Sometimes tranquil and beautiful, sometimes threatening and powerful, Wave picks the attentive listener up and carries them on a ten-track ride that turns out to be an affecting experience.
"Westbrook, who has played alongside Michael Thomas, Sean Kelly and Dan Brodie, composed all ten tracks and plays double and electric bass, electric and acoustic guitars and tubophone on the album. She enlists assistance from guitarists Sean Kelly and Penny Ikinger, drummers George Servanis and Des Hefner and violinist Tom Fitzgerald to augment her subtle melodies. And, the whole thing is warmly and reverently recorded by Tony Cohen and Craig Harnath.
"People are inevitably going to raise Dirty Three as a comparison and it's a valid one. For the most part, though, Westbrook's compositions are far less sinister and never employ raw, cathartic, violent intensity for impact; her ideas, as I say, are more subtle and elegant than that... "
Martin Jones, Inpress Magazine, 4.6.03