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Birds And Buildings - Bantam To Behemoth CD (album) cover


Birds And Buildings


Eclectic Prog

4.24 | 461 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars I have very mixed feelings about this album. It has musicianship and composition of the highest level. It has many, many familiar-yet-"forgotten" sounds magically and often surprisingly exhumed from the 1970's prog scene. It has highly complicated and often unpredictabily shifting song structures. It is mostly instrumental (and when vocals are used they are strangely treated and/or mixed into the music. It is synthesizing many many familiar music styles from YES to GENESIS to KING CRIMSON to Canterbury to CHICK COREA Spanish/Latino, even to Zeuhl (frenetic drumming) and MIKE OLDFIELD. But in the end it's just too busy, too frenetic, not engaging enough for me. 1. "Birds Flying into Buildings" opens the album at quite a pace and with a rather annoying choice for bass sound. While I like and appreciate the use of jazz sounds and instruments (here saxes, Farfisa organ, Fender Rhodes electric piano, hollow-bodied guitar picking), it's just overdone and too chaotic (for my enjoyment) here. Get off the amphetamines and slow down and I might enjoy it. 5/10

2. "Terra Fire" begins in a kind of minimalist, dreamy jazz way while the vocalist of the Dracula/Peter Cushing School sings about who knows what underneath the music. The music of this (luckily) brief song isn't even very engaging. And the bass is mixed and effected annoyingly. Kind of like some of CHRIS SQUIRE's worst recordings. 4/10

3. "Tunguska" is an impressive song with too many familiar sounds and styles to enumerate. Wow! What a trip! 9/10

4. "Caution Congregates and Forms a Storm" a song beginning with a very New Age Spanish flare (cue GOVI or BRUCE BECVAR) though, of course, it moves into many other directions--in a very "eclectic"-meets-symphonic way. A song with many pretty, though often ever-so-briefly explored themes and riffs. 8/10

5. "Chronicle of the Invisible River of Stone" is another WILLOWGLASS revives ANT PHILLIPS' GENESIS song with some strangely mixed and less-than-enthused female vocals (sounding very much like CRYSTAL GAYLE or NICOLETTE LARSEN mixed with a little ANNETTE PEACOCK). The song proceeds very much like a STEVE HACKETT dream sequence--very unpredictable and often light-hearted musical shifts. A tough song to rate--like a lot of this album--so many moods and themes that it makes the song difficult to assess much less remember. 7/10

6. "Yucatan 65: The Agitation of the Mass" is a nice STEVE HOWE plays over a WILLOWGLASS Spanish tango. The range of instrumental sounds these guys drag up from out of the archives of early 70's music--both with keyboards and guitar effects--is absolutely amazing. In spite of this--and not unlike ANDREW MARSHALL's WILLOWGLASS works--this one gets a little mired down in repetition and contrivance. 7/10

7. Chakra Khan" is a bit too frenetically paced for my tastes. It is very jazz-based though it has a very straightforward beat. The question here is: Just how fast does one need to go? While I appreciate speed, I'm not a Ferrari-Porsche guy. 5/10

8. Battalion" is, again, just too hyped up JOE JACKSON pseudo jazz for me. Let me out! I can't take it anymore! 4/10

9. "Sunken City, Sunny Day" is a very pretty, slow, mostly acoustic song with nearly unintelligible samples of a British man's recorded speech (Sounds like the dude BILL NELSON and DAVID SYLVIAN used speech samples of in many of their songs.) Interesting way to end such a dynamic album. 7/10

Overall, an impressive set of performances but of music(s) that I just don't feel attracted to. 3.5 stars (rated up for musicianship, composition, and admirable revival of many old prog sounds).

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |


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