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
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.
"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
THE IRIDIUM CONTROVERSY
“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.
2001 LIVE BIRDS
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."
Erik Lindgren (piano)
DANCING ON A'A
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:
"...by far Birdsongs' most impressive effort to date, one I'll recommend highly to the fan & newcomer alike."
THE FOSSIL RECORD 1980-1987
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
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
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