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Birdsongs Of The Mesozoic - Faultline CD (album) cover

FAULTLINE

Birdsongs Of The Mesozoic

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.13 | 17 ratings

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Syzygy
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Faultline was the first Birdsongs of the Mesozoic album to be released following the departure of founding member and painist Roger Miller. They expanded briefly to a 5 piece featuring 2 saxophonists, one of whom, Ken Field, is still playing with them today. On this album their style also evolved, with large chunks of it recalling the formal structures of Art Zoyd.

The revised line up gave BOTM a more varied sonic pallette, although their characteristic influences (minimalism, chamber rock, contemporary avant garde and ambient) remain essentially the same. The album gets off to a brilliant start with The True Wheelbase, 3 minutes of prime RIO noise featuring some joyously atonal sax honking. The next track is another winner, with sampled drums (When The Levee Breaks via the Beastie Boys, apparently) laying down a killer beat beneath the avant rock weirdness. Following that, however, the album settles into a kind of off kilter formality which features few of the eccentric flourishes that made their early work so engaging. Most of the pieces are propelled by the piano and have the kind of coldly intellectual feel of some Art Zoyd albums, sounding like equations written out as musical scores. Ken Field's soprano sax adds a warmer texture to Chariots of Fire, and there's some nice tenor from Steve Adams on Pteropold, but otherwise much of the album is an oddly cold, clinical exercise. The final track (not included on the original release) is an Eno styled ambient piece of the sort that BOTM do so well, and brings the CD to a satisfactory conclusion.

Faultline is a well written and executed album with some exemplary playing, but it isn't particularly likeable. This may be due in part to the changed line up - Steve Adams left after this album, but Ken Field has remained and made some brilliant contributions to later albums. Birdsongs of the Mesozoic would go on to greater things, but this album is best seen as the first step towards the excellent Pterophonics and Iridium Controversy.

Syzygy | 3/5 |

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