Steve Adams • Michael Bierylo • Ken Field • Erik Lindgren • Roger Miller • Rick Scott • Martin Swope

Birdsongs Of The Mesozoic began in 1980 as a side project by half of Boston's famed rock band, Mission Of Burma: Roger Miller and Martin Swope. Miller and Swope joined forces with Rick Scott and Erik Lindgren. Perhaps because of their tie to the ever-popular Burma or perhaps because of their sheer excellence Birdsongs Of The Mesozoic earned international recognition for their innovative sound. The New York Times called them "the world's hardest rocking chamber music quartet." Their unlikely mix of rock, punk, classical, minimalism, and free-form sound appealed to a broad range of musical tastes. As Roger remembers in the liner notes, "If I had to say what I thought was most unique about the band, it was that we actually played rock clubs and basically pulled off this rather unorthodox thing. Well sure, we pissed off some rockers (“Just look at ’em up there, shuffling their papers!”), but that wasn't really our concern. If this odd quartet wasn’t about as different as you could get and still play those venues, well at least we put up a pretty good fight." Rick Scott comments, "We were always the square peg in a world of round holes. Our instruments weren't bass, guitar, and drums, but guitar, three keyboards, and drum machine (with turntable, water can, washboard, and clarinet thrown in for good measure!). We played in rock clubs, but read from sheet music. We shared the stage with three-chord rockers, but played music from Brian Eno and Igor Stravinsky, and covered the theme from 'Rocky and Bullwinkle'. It boggles the mind how we got away with it."

DAWN OF THE CYCADS: The Complete Ace of Heart's Recordings (1983-1987)

RUNE 274

For the first time ever, all of the band's 3 recordings for Ace of Hearts (Birdsongs of the Mesozoic, Magnetic Flip and Beat of the Mesozoic) are reissued in their entirety and in the order in which they were originally heard when they were first issued. In the the words of Erik Lindgren, the remastering done here, "sonically makes the 'Sonic Geology' package irrelevant." The package comes with a 20 page booklet of notes and photos and there is a huge wealth of totally cool CDRom material - 175 photos, art files, set-lists, dioramas, letters, documents and more. Additionally, there are two studio tracks and seven live tracks, none of which have ever been heard before, for over 45' of bonus material.

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is ‘Thank You,’ that would suffice.” So yeah, thank you. Because who could resist the stately and surprisingly plump pieces on this comprehensive Ace of Hearts anthology with superadded bonus outtakes and live tracks? Only a person with a heart of stone. From the 1983 self-titled EP, opener “Sound Valentine” and “Orange Ocean” are the stand-outs. Proceeding to 1984’s Magnetic Flip we venture into more rugged territory; for some of us, the majestic opening track, “Shiny Golden Snakes,” and the tumultuous “Terry Riley’s House” must surely have been turbulent highlights from that lost year of dread, with “International Tours” and “Bridge Underwater” their psychopomp antitheses.The 1986 release Beat of the Mesozoic features more of the band’s playful yet consistently stirring and ambitious classical pieces, notably the opener “Lost in the B-Zone,” the luminescent “Waterwheel,” and the elegaic “Scenes From a...”. The seven live tracks, retroactively titled Between the Fires, reveal a band ably positioned to perform live some of their most rigorous and intellectually challenging compositions, notably “Carbon 14” and the astonishing, otherworldly climax to “Lqabblil Insanya.” – The Noise

Dawn of the Cycads Press Release

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RUNE 241

For their 13th album and in their 25th year together, post-punk, art-rock pioneers Birdsongs of the Mesozoic do a 180 degree musical swerve and link up with bass-baritone vocalists Oral Moses, one of the preeminent African-American performers of traditional spirituals. The band demolish all preconceptions about themselves by presenting a program of heavily rearranged, well known African-American spirituals and 19th century art songs. The blend of Birdsongs' cutting-edge instrumentation with the strength and majesty of Moses' voice creates a very unorthodox yet deeply moving sound, which The Noise called, "Totally sublime and deeply moving." This collaboration represents a new experiment from all parties - something of a meeting at the crossroads between two creative parties passing in very different directions. Together they bring these centuries-old songs kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

"These aren't just African-American songs - these are American songs." - Oral Moses

"This CD is one of the coolest things I've ever heard. I'm a big fan of choral music and spirituals, and Oral Moses has an incredible voice. Fascinatingly unique settings -- aptly titled! I'm sure this is going to be a favorite." - Paul Erdman

Extreme Spirituals Press Release

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RUNE 179

Dubbed “the world’s hardest rocking chamber quartet” by the New York Times, Boston’s Birdsongs of the Mesozoic creates innovative instrumental music that fuses rock, classical, minimalism, punk, garage/pop, and jazz. Two keyboardists (one on grand piano and one on synthesizer), guitar, saxophone and electronic/computer percussion produce a unique sound that fuses the youthful energy and anarchism of rock with the structure (and process) of classical music. The result is simultaneously abstract and accessible, music without vocals with broad popular appeal. Called everything from ‘avant-progressive’ [Progression] to ‘heavy metal Baroque’ [Honolulu Weekly] to ‘avant-garage’ [B Side], Birdsongs’ hybrid sound may well be classical music’s new alternative, a ‘genetically modified’ hybrid that will breathe life and vigor into a musical genre that has grown rarified with age, increasingly irrelevant to modern audiences. The Iridium Controversy is a sophisticated work, a soundtrack to a primordial epic that harkens to the future as well as the past.

The cover art for The Iridium Controversy is by British artist and designer Roger Dean, world renown for his album covers for Yes, Asia and other rockers. Additionally, this is a HDCD audiophile release.

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RUNE 3347

An excellent souvenir of Birdsongs great show as opening act for NEARFest 2001. This is a very good live recording with a lot of air and is also their very first live album!

"A volcanic cauldron of melodic chamber rock, "2001 Live Birds", oozes with virtuosity, all the while bubbling with humorous overtones. Celebrating their 20th anniversary, this energetic live album, covers the full range of their discography. Ample samplings from the then-new "Petrophonics" and "Dancing on A'A" dominate the set, but the band reach back to "Faultline", "Beat of the Mesozoic" and even "Magnetic Flip" to round out the selection. One of the most refreshing aspects of Birdsongs of the Mesozoic is their sense of humor, and they brought it along in full force to this live show. This inspired performance provides an excellent cross-section of the band's repertoire and truly gives the listener a great feel for the electricity in the hall that Saturday morning."

Rick Scott : synthesizer, percussion
Erik Lindgren : piano, percussion
Ken Field : sax, flute, synthesizer, percussion
Michael Bierylo : guitar, laptop, percussion

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RUNE 137

Erik Lindgren (piano)
Rick Scott (synthesizer)
Ken Field (sax, flute)
Michael Bierylo (guitar)
Terry Donahue (percussion)
Pacey Foster (turntable)
David Greenberger (voice)
Eric Paull (drums)
John Styklunas (bass)
Ken Winokur (percussion)

Celebrating their 20th anniversary (in 2000) and 10th release, Boston's wonderfully unique Birdsongs Of The Mesozoic return with Petrophonics!

This record features electric guitar, acoustic grand piano, synthesizer, saxes/flute & electronic percussion/programming.

The band have built on their past work and have definitely brought something new to the table for this release. Their sound, which combines rock, modern classical, punk, minimalism & free-form sound, is impossible to describe and immediately identifiable! With a large brace of great releases under their belts, they are, " of the few bands whose music is always good and always improving."-C.W. Vrtacek.

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Originally released in 1995, Dancing On A'A was the first release by the fantastic, current line-up of the band, who just released the highly acclaimed Petrophonics release, and who will be appearing at Nearfest 2001! Upon its original release, Exposť wrote:

" far Birdsongs' most impressive effort to date, one I'll recommend highly to the fan & newcomer alike."

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The Fossil Record is all unreleased material by the original lineup (featuring Roger Miller) & an excellent overview.

''Birdsongs Of The Mesozoic has found a common ground amoung garage band rock, classical, minimalism, UK progressive rock, and it's own favorite noises.'' - The New York Times

''...fantastically innovative music.'' - Exposť

''...a fresh & almost indescribable fusion of rock, jazz, modern classical, sampled sound & noise.'' - The Boston Phoenix

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Pyroclastics continues & builds upon their signature sound that fist emerged in the early 80's. It is the final Birdsongs album to feature original guitarist Martin Swope.

"The album not only lives up to its title (look it up), but also rivals the band’s astonishing first album, Magnetic Flip, for sheer musical pleasure. Partly responsible is a newly unleashed feel for gritty textures and pressing melodies that gives the tunes resilience without shoving them in your face?Of course, that would be just art moves without the Birdsongs’ sense of play in the calmly twisted musical ideas (tuneful shortwave noise, clinky percussion, unique instrument combinations), and the covers (the Simpsons’ theme and tunes from the two Brian’s, Wilson and Eno). ?It doesn’t just take superior musicians to pull off this music, but musicians working as a real ensemble. The Birdsongs manage the mood and tempo shifts in the music while creating a clear, open sound that’s all the more attractive for its modesty." – Lang Thompson, Option, #44

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Faultline was the first first release by the band after the departure of founder Roger Miller and was also their first for Cuneiform. It continued & built upon the group's signature sound that 1st emerged in the early 80's but also with many new twists.

"This was the first Birdsongs of the Mesozoic album to be released after the departure of keyboardist and founding member Roger Miller. He was briefly replaced by reedman Steve Adams, who left before the completion of Faultline to join ROVA, a San Francisco-based saxophone quartet.
Saxophonist Ken Field stepped in to take his place, helped to finish the album, and subsequently became a permanent member of the band.
The addition of reed instruments marked a fundamental change in the band's sound. Instead of a rather architectural, if raw, sound based on the interaction of twin keyboards, Birdsongs of the Mesozoic began to sound a little bit jazzier, if no less structurally rigorous and aggressive. On "Coco Boudakian," guitarist Martin Swope sounds uncannily like Arto Lindsay; the title track rocks out in a blocky but complex way. But there are several moments of serene beauty as well, in particular the limpid Steve Adams composition that ends the program. Highly recommended." – All Music

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For press and media: cover art and high resolution images are available below for download (click thumbnail, right-click image and select "Save As.."). Please credit the photographer (when available) and "Courtesy of Cuneiform Records". For more information, click here.

Dawn of the Cycads Press Release
Extreme Spirituals Press Release
Extreme Spirituals Press Quotes
More Press Quotes

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