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Birdsongs Of The Mesozoic - Petrophonics CD (album) cover

PETROPHONICS

Birdsongs Of The Mesozoic

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.93 | 44 ratings

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Pnoom!
3 stars Rating: C+

One of the greatest strengths of avant-garde music is its diversity. It can cover any and every style, so long as it approaches that style with the right mindset. In the case of Birdsongs of the Mesozoic, that style is electronic jazz (at least on Petrophonics), and its quite exciting, to say the least. It's catchy, accessible, quirky, and fun, but it's not easy listening by any means. I've not (yet) heard anything but Petrophonics, but it's undeniably a strong CD, an excellent example of beauty in avant-garde music.

It immediately grabs the listener with the pounding intro to "Petrophonics", which mixes electronic beats with a fantastic keyboard line. "Petrophonics" never lets up from that intro, even as it moves into a softer section with gorgeous flute. One of the most concise, powerful pieces of music I know, "Petrophonics" gets the CD off to a fantastic start. Unfortunately, Petrophonics (the CD this time) never again reaches those heights. It's never bad - in fact, it's quite good - so it would be wrong to say that Petrophonics blows its load in the title track, but it remains far tamer than the wild opener would suggest.

Unfortunately, that leaves the listener somewhat disappointed on first listen, even though songs such as "Ptoccata 2" truly are beautiful. On future listens this problem vanishes, but there is still one key flaw with the CD, and that is the all-too-prevalent problem that it's overlong. While there are plenty of CDs that can sustain themselves for sixty-six minutes, and this one does a fair job of it, but it's pretty easy to see that ten minutes (at least) could have been chopped off without hurting the quality of the CD (indeed, it would improve the quality). Suffice it to say, Petrophonics simply isn't diverse enough to sustain itself for that long. At times, it seems to repeat itself, and there are enough moments where it feels dead, as if the musicians are searching for ideas and forgetting their audience, that such moments become distracting.

All of that said, Petrophonics is still a good CD, and from what I've read, it isn't even their best. Anybody who appreciates jazz music and who likes his (or her) music quirky and fun would do well to look into this group, and Petrophonics is generally engaging and consistent enough to serve as a good introduction. It's certainly not an essential listen, but it's worth pulling out every few months to revisit.

Pnoom! | 3/5 |

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