Grooves and Glitches: Birdsongs of the Mesozoic – Faultline (1989)

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Birdsongs of the Mesozoic is a brother project to the better known Mission of Burma.  Regardless of reputation, they were visionary musicians, producing a sound that might be argued as still ahead of its time.  They produce something akin to classical lounge music (but infinitely more interesting than that moniker connotates).  One might think because of their instrumental and prog-ish nature, Birdsongs’ compositions would be more akin to free-jazz, improv rantings and ravings.  But the reality is much closer to something uniquely cinematic, compelling linear narratives written with music.  Their music benefits from the structure of a somewhat classical approach to composition, punk’s energy, post-punk’s experimentalism, and tonal explorations fueled by jazz and classical.

Faultline is one of the watershed moments in Birdsongs history, as it marks the addition of reeds by new (and soon-to-be permanent) member Ken Field, as well as marking the first departure of Roger Miller.  On this, the jazz influence really takes root and grows on later releases.  I had the fortune to see Birdsongs when they played the Talking Head at the tail end of July this year and took some photos (lineup:  Bierylo, Miller, Lindgren, Scott).  Their sound, if a bit dated, still feels wildly inventive and utterly unique.  In a musical landscape that sees more and more brazenly experimental formulations every day, that is something of a testament to Birdsongs’ eclecticism and vision.

Here we present Side One of the record in its entirety.  Hopefully your interest in piqued and you go out and grab this great album.

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MP3: Birdsongs of the Mesozoic - Faultline Side One

Artist: Birdsongs of the Mesozoic

Album Title: Faultline

Label: Cuneiform Records

Release Date: 1989

Track listing:

Side 1

  1. The True Wheelbase
  2. They Walk Among Us
  3. Coco Boudakian
  4. I Don’t Need No Crystal Ball
  5. Chariots of Fire

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