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Michael-John Azzopardi

Michael-John Azzopardi
 
Performance Times

10.30am, Saturday
Mezzanine

5pm, Saturday
Sunk Bar

Overview

Filtering “blues, celtic, rock and jazz influences through six strings into a truly unmistakable voice” Azzopardi performs original material alongside reworked traditional songs. It’s been said “Azzopardi proves himself to be a supernatural guitarist. His ability to coax multiple melody lines out of the one instrument is simply breathtaking his mastery of pathos, atmosphere and intensity awe-inspiring” and that “He knows how to coax the feeling from a lyric, to husband it with tenderness, lust or wit as the moment dictates. Both his voice and his guitar are expert at expressing the subtlest sentiment and the most strident outburst”

Visit his website.

Reviews

“I spied this place for the first time on Sunday of last week and saw Michael Azzopardi
(I shit you not, this acoustic singer/song-writer is ab-so-lute-ly, strictly, fucking amazing!)
See him people, he will blow your mind." - Danny Murphy, Revolver, Music News

"Esoteric genius with a penchant for intricate acoustic masterpieces “…the intensity and depth of his compositions reach right into the listener and takes a firm hold on the soul. In fact, some of the progressions and arrangements are so mind-blowing they might be described as schizophrenic if they weren’t so goddamn sane, beautiful and eloquently reasoned! The poetic, philosophical lyrics–which are at the same time accessible and firmly rooted in everyday reality, or at least a lucid dream of it–also a hint at a remarkably multi–layered artistic force. Michael-John Azzopardi is not the sort of musician you can reasonably assume anything about." - Guitarist Australia magazine

"Michael-John Azzopardi is a quietly understated yet deeply complex artist – an artist as much as a songwriter and poet. Whilst the music he has selected for this debut independent
album is for the most part introspective and acoustically based, there is as much complexity within the word pictures he spins for the listener as there is an apparent simplicity in the melodies. Yet it’s all unpremeditated, as close to a true expression of the mind and soul of the artist as you’re going to get." - The Poet, The Painter Drum Media

"If you missed Thursday's show you missed one of the best lineups we've ever presented. MC Sara Browne, The Mongrel Bastards Matt Tonks, Nat Belly Slade and band and Michael Azzopardi. Michael Azzopardi, driving driving (yep, I said that twice) guitar and vocals closed the show, bringing the house down with him. Michael is an instinctual performer, reading the mood like a map and letting the music take him and the audience, where they need to be. What his inspiration is it’s hard to guess, but his music is driven with a passion that seems to well up from the earth. Hearing him play is only half of it. Like Matt Tonks, you have to watch for the full effect. I know you guys think I make this stuff up, and that it’s just hyperbole, but, like Cassandra, I am compelled to tell the truth. To have a lineup like that is every music producer’s dream. Matt Tonks and Michael Azzopardi on the same bill is enough, but add Nat, the Mongrel Bastards and Sara Browne and you’ve got a show made in heaven." - live review at "the Local showcase" @Newtown

"Most of the tracks on this album feature extended musical passages that wind and coil and carry us into wild and unmapped territory. Azzopardi demonstrates a genuinely classical aptitude for gathering momentum and exploring the rich possibilities of a theme. He filters blues, celtic, rock and jazz influences through six strings into a truly unmistakable voice.  Speaking of singing – Mr Azzopardi’s voice is yet another wonder to behold. Whether soaring angelically or crooning with gravel, his vocals alone could carve him a great reputation. He knows how to coax the feeling from a lyric, to husband it with tenderness, lust or wit as the moment dictates. Both his voice and his guitar are expert at expressing the subtlest sentiment and the most strident outburst." - Excerpts from Heathen Harvest Music Review

"Australian multi-instrumentalist Michael-John Azzopardi has been creating virtuosic and atmospheric folk music for some years now. The Curious Tide is his third solo album and it represents a further maturing and deepening of his art.  The contours of The Curious Tide are written in the language of trance and dreams. From the strains of opening instrumental track “Tide – Ebb,” to the final cadences of closer “Tide – Flow,” the whole album represents journeys within journeys, wandering ever deeper into an internal world of sea spray on rocks, old secrets buried in earth.  Yet as always, the connecting thread of his art is his singing: redolent with passion, suffering, curiosity, humility, and courage. He draws exquisite tensions and atmospheres from his vocals; he turns his tremendous technical gifts completely to the purpose of unfettered expression, and there is a raw, disarming honesty even when his singing is at its most sophisticated. Actually, the same could be said of his musicianship as a whole. I feel I must return to mention his acoustic guitar work, however. As always, Azzopardi brings magisterial grace to the instrument. His gift for wringing simultaneous rhythm and melody parts from the instrument shines in the album’s warm and clear production. It takes close listening to work out exactly how the arrangements are structured, with seemingly contrapuntal elements often resolving into a single instrument part. I have seen him replicate this magic live; his hands seem sometimes to defy the laws of physics. I mentioned before Azzopardi’s gift for storytelling. He invites us into the worlds and emotions of his characters with tremendous grace. Even his more didactic lyrics – “Belong” with its animism and “Wake” with its injunctions to enlightenment – unfold like transpersonal narratives. His words fall like stately snow upon the writhing currents of his instrumentation. When The Curious Tide ends it feels like one has just returned from a long journey in a distant – yet deeply familiar – land of mystery. I suspect it is nothing less than the mystery of that which is most deeply within: this is music that evokes the underworldly journeys of Orpheus himself. With The Curious Tide Azzopardi has achieved an organic, dark, complex, and impassioned expression that transcends all bounds. This is an essential release. Rating: 4.75/5 - Heathen Harvest Music Review by Henry Lauer

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