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BIRDS AND BUILDINGS

Eclectic Prog • United States


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Birds And Buildings picture
Birds And Buildings biography
Founded in 2008 in Maryland, USA

Dan Britton (keyboards, guitars) is known already for his previous bands CEREBUS EFFECT and DELUGE GRANDER. Here he has created another project with Malcolm McDuffie (drums, trumpet, viola), Brian Falkowski (saxes, flute clarinet) and Brett d'Anon (bass, guitar) which plays on Deluge Grander as well.
In their Myspace, Dan says about himself that he likes all prog, especially Magma and Genesis. Indeed the first release by B&B has an amalgam of styles on it, notably the swirling and mesmerizing sound of zeuhl a-la Magma, while not neglecting the symphonic prog side and adding some fusion into the equation. This band seems to take the best of the two previous projects and incorporate their sounds, mixing them together into one. If you liked any of Britton's previous band's, this will surely appeal to you. Alternatively, this will appeal to anyone who likes variety, dynamics, top-notch musicianship and intricate composing style.

Note: This picture may actually be of the band "Deluge Grander", featuring nonetheless both Dan and Brett

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BIRDS AND BUILDINGS discography


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BIRDS AND BUILDINGS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.24 | 502 ratings
Bantam to Behemoth
2008
4.16 | 372 ratings
Multipurpose Trap
2013

BIRDS AND BUILDINGS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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BIRDS AND BUILDINGS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Bantam to Behemoth by BIRDS AND BUILDINGS album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.24 | 502 ratings

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Bantam to Behemoth
Birds And Buildings Eclectic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

5 stars Birds and Buildings is a quartet of absolute masters who master their instruments with skill and passion and are also able to achieve a coherent result. There are 5 songs which mostly last more than nine minutes, and four shorter ones, and throughout you can feel the size of the vessel that takes you into the restless sea of one of those bands that deliver exceptional quality compositions, very complex music, where most songs are very "busy" and quite fast tempo. Already the first track "Birds Flying Into Buildings" with its ominous mellotron choirs, high-speed keyboard solos and jazzy saxophone interludes, proves that no light fare is offered here.

The three tracks in the middle convey the feeling that a three-part concept is being built on "Bantam To Behemoth", each consisting of three compositions. The album also brings a little lighter / quieter sounds, where the band takes its foot off the jazz accelerator, but this is precisely what creates an interesting and pleasant counterpoint to the rest of the weirdness of the album. Jazzy prog with indulgent mellotron sounds and wacky solos, interesting mixture that is full of variety, presented by classic sound, gives a lot of gas and breathes new life into the eclectic prog world.

This is just pure energy, intelligence and joy of playing, in the spirit and sound of the glorious times, but absolutely original, a new creation, entirely in the style of experimentation in the high phase of progressive rock.

 Multipurpose Trap by BIRDS AND BUILDINGS album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.16 | 372 ratings

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Multipurpose Trap
Birds And Buildings Eclectic Prog

Review by Muskrat

5 stars Announced for 2011, the second Birds & Buildings effort was finally released in 2013. But these three years of waiting were rewarded a hundredfold! Dan Britton renewed his feat by offering us an album that is just as good, if not better. We find the strong and very strange atmosphere of Bantam to Behemoth: the energetic rhythms of the sax (Miracle Pigeon), the unusual and distant songs, the sumptuous chords of Dan (East is Fort Orthodox), the incredible bass of Brett D ' anon and the game provided by Malcom Mc Duffle (Abominable Pelican). The only change is the strong addition about a violin.

But ... because there is a but. Nothing new on the mixing and production side! The sound is still cleverly rotten, especially in the treble where it lacks depth. Despite listening to speakers with a soft and velvety sound (Cabasse), the violin is sometimes squeaky and unpleasant, the snare drum sounds like a tin can and the piano sound is worthy of a plastic instrument that we offer to children.

Conclusion, Multipurpose Trap offers admirable music, both in composition and in interpretation. Which is why I consider it to be a centerpiece of progressive rock. Having said that, I won't give these ratings to Dan Britton's productions again until he improves the mix.

 Bantam to Behemoth by BIRDS AND BUILDINGS album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.24 | 502 ratings

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Bantam to Behemoth
Birds And Buildings Eclectic Prog

Review by Muskrat

5 stars Indescribable experience!

With 'Birds Flying Into Buildings', Birds & Building immediately sets the tone: if you're not keen on listening to something completely hallucinatory, go your way! Bantam To Behemoth offers very strange Canterbury, sometimes violent and frenzied, sometimes peaceful and full of emotion. When I say 'Canterbury', I mean that the influence of jazz in their music is strong and obvious, but that it is found mixed with the classic elements of symphonic progressive rock of the 70ths. But make no mistake, the music of Birds & Building is something really new, at the crossroads of the Zeuhl, Canterbury and Symphonic movements. To name a band in their resemblance is a challenge, the closest would seem Moving Gelatine Plates. The compositions are loaded and varied, the sounds amazing. The whimsical song is in harmony with the music, sometimes hazy and distant, sometimes belching and disturbing. Within the tracks, the gradual changes of climates always give me an intense pleasure (as between 6:00 and 7:00 in "Chronicle of the Invisible River of Stone"). Slow build-ups ' la King Crimson are not uncommon (second part of "Battalion"). To top it off, the musicians are true maestro. They exchange the front of the stage for our greatest happiness (bass solo by Brett d'Anon in "Caution Congregates and Forms a Storm") and drummer Malcom McDuffie is supercharged.

The only downside is that the recording is mediocre. You would think it was done with basic equipment, live in a garage. The result lacks depth and sometimes the drums sound like a pan. In 2008, I attributed this defect to a lack of resources. But (unfortunately) the rest would prove me wrong. Rotten Sound is the choice of Dan Britton, who may be a great musician and songwriter, but genuinely a poor sound engineer. Pity !

 Multipurpose Trap by BIRDS AND BUILDINGS album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.16 | 372 ratings

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Multipurpose Trap
Birds And Buildings Eclectic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars What a band they are, true deliverance of fantastic eclectic prog. Birds and buildings released their second and so far last album Multipurpose Trap in 2013 .Music is really complex and it represents a wide diversity of different styles of progressive rock and doing so it enters the world of its own. Multipurpose Trap represents modern prog take on a classic eclectic style.

It really takes you to the world of mayhem, it also delivers thick, complex, and multilayered, instrumental and vocal parts. Filled with various instruments, besides the usual suspects, from sax, flute, clarinet, violin this album is a very impressive effort and a real ride to the mad and adventurous world of the band.

 Multipurpose Trap by BIRDS AND BUILDINGS album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.16 | 372 ratings

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Multipurpose Trap
Birds And Buildings Eclectic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars Young and already quite original band thanks to their well served and mixed music ingredients: fusion, Canterbury sound, Zeuhl and avantgarde.

Musicians are extremely proficient and dynamic; the vocals are OK and thankfully not used too often; if they are, they are not imitating the Magma vocals or they are almost indescirnible. I want to higlight the excellent sound of drums containing a few hints to Bill Bruford.

Brass instruments such as trumpet, saxophone with violin bring another playful dimension to the record. The violin has some Kansas hooks.

The album starts of very intensively in the first three-minute introduction, drums changing, bass flying all over and brass instruments colouring the sound.

The use of deeper synthesizer or bass sounds in the second track makes music more dramatic as it sounds witty and playful otherwise. "Tragic penguin" has a lovely electric piano drown in the sound of violin with synthesizers joining in while female/male vocals colour the sound. "Catapult" has a crazy complex rhythm and brass instruments add to its insanity. Again, the drums are so well mixed to enjoy the complexities. The violin main motiv is one of the catchiest moments on the album. The longest track, "Abominable Pelican" is also the most symphonic due to its good composition and graduation. The creativity and versatility of keyboard instruments is incredible, going from Mellotron and Hammond runs to funky clavinet, synths.

 Bantam to Behemoth by BIRDS AND BUILDINGS album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.24 | 502 ratings

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Bantam to Behemoth
Birds And Buildings Eclectic Prog

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

5 stars To those who say that prog is dead, look no further.

Anything that Dan Britton is involved with has its own unique spin on the preconceived notions of what progressive music should sound like. The man is a true creative genius and a real visionary. So it shouldn't serve as any surprise that this quartet adheres to Britton's usual platinum standard. In fact, Birds and Buildings may very well be the finest prog band of the new millennium, and their debut album "Bantam To Behemoth" is the crowning glory of this project's output (thus far, at least, assuming no new albums pop up under their name). A bold claim? Perhaps, but I feel that there are very few other bands in the world right now who can compete.

So what exactly does Birds and Buildings sound like? Well, a little bit of everything. Others have cited such influences as King Crimson, Gentle Giant, Van der Graaf Generator, Genesis, Magma, Soft Machine, Zappa, and all of their cousins. While these are good reference points as far as timbres, these influences are generally fleeting. Only occasional stylistic homages, if you will. The composition and scope of this project is a completely newly forged path. There's nothing on here that would make you think Birds and Buildings are mere clones. This is all killer, no filler, baby! Every bar, every phrase, every track, is a brand new musical invention.

Now, with that in mind, you may be a bit worried at this point that the album comes across as cold and academic. Fortunately, not the case! This is music that truly lives and breathes, and while it doesn't swim smoothly from melody to melody a la symphonic prog, there are emotional peaks and troughs, oodles of tasty tension and release, and some genuinely evocative atmospheres. The album also chameleons its way through a wide variety of approaches, from the uptempo jazz-rock workouts of "Birds Flying Into Buildings" or "Chakra Khan" to classically-driven pastoral ballads like "Caution Congregates and Forms A Storm", the latter feeling not unlike Genesis' "Trespass" at times. So even if you aren't crazy about avant- garde music, you're still likely to find something to enjoy on here.

There are a few points of contention with this release. Namely, the production, which seems to be entirely analogue, is quite rough. Consequently, the vocals seem very out of place, sitting too low in the mix to sound intelligible. However, this seldom distracts from the mostly instrumental content of the album, and certainly doesn't diminish the absolute creative prowess on display here. As I've said before, this is completely fresh, new, original music. So if that sounds seductive to you - and why wouldn't it, given the saturation of depressive Steven Wilson clones and forgettable retro prog? - then give this a try. Indulge.

This is an absolutely essential release for fans of complex, eclectic prog; a modern masterpiece. 5 stars.

 Multipurpose Trap by BIRDS AND BUILDINGS album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.16 | 372 ratings

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Multipurpose Trap
Birds And Buildings Eclectic Prog

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Dan Britton's first Birds and Buildings release came as a complete surprise to me, so when I finally got my hands on Multipurpose Trap I knew what I was getting in to... and my expectations were pretty darn high. Luckily, Britton and his company of exceptional musicians deliver once again, in an incredibly intense, complex, energetic, (mostly) instrumental, and unabashedly prog experience. Multipurpose Trap is outstanding!

The album kicks off with "The Dumb Fish," a song that is fairly characteristic of the entire album: an immensely dense combination of instrumental virtuosity and inexhaustible precision. Do you think that prog-metal bands like Dream Theater play intricate melodies that are masterfully complex? Trust me, Birds and Buildings makes them seem almost like amateurs. The band is fantastically tight and busy, making one's toes tap and fingers bop and head rock each at a different tempo or rhythm. The effect is exceptionally intense but also very polished and professional. This is high-class prog that will either knock your socks off or make you wonder what the hell is happening... maybe both!!

"Horse-Shaped Cloud" is quirky and dramatic, taking us from a crescendo of bouncy violins, saxophones, and keyboards to a folksy country dance. How weird! How wonderful!

The tongue-in cheek "Miracle Pigeon" uses quirky riffing on the up-beat to tell the story of a superhero pigeon through music (seriously, check out Dan's comments from the band's website).

"East is Fort Orthodox" and "Secret Crevice" are probably the highlight pairing of the album. They give us a change of pace, building a sort of old-west tone that sets a dramatic tension, building and building to another killer track of non-stop instrumental grooves and improvisation that will positively tie you up in knots.

"Tragic Penguin" gives you a moment's reprieve of nuance and slow-tempo charm, which might just be there to prepare you for the total brain scramble that is "Catapult." Again, from the website, Dan says that it's '10 minutes of 20-second ideas.' This is one of those songs that is tailor made for fellow prog-heads, because who else could stand listening to a bombardment of musical ideas that twist, turn, coil, splat, careen, bounce, groove, barf, roar, chortle, and snort at break-neck speed?

Ultimately, this is the name of the game with Multipurpose Trap; it's a prog-head's celebration of the love of classic prog transformed by boundless energy and instrumental virtuosity. 5 big fat crazy freaking stars for Britton and company, and a must listen for fans of the genre. It'll make you stand up and beg for more, and make your friends, family, and neighbors wonder what the hell is wrong with you. Bravo!

Songwriting: 5 - Instrumental Performances: 5 - Lyrics/Vocals: 4 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 5

 Multipurpose Trap by BIRDS AND BUILDINGS album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.16 | 372 ratings

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Multipurpose Trap
Birds And Buildings Eclectic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Dan Britton has created an incredible album here with "Multi Purpose Trap". It's one i'd describe as avant-garde first and foremost, and the attention to detail is stunning. And the way he has arranged the music with all these intricate sounds meshing together is mind- boggling. This is complex yet melodic. I just can't imagine the time that must have went into this, Dan truly is a musical genius. I first became familiar with him with the band CEREBUS EFFECT, a band put together by the former drummer for CHAOS CODE after that band had broke up. I was pleasantly surprised then to see Dan had added Cliff Phelps to his band here as Cliff was the former singer for CHAOS CODE. What a bizarre album "Multi Purpose Trap" is though and even the thick liner notes filled with these strange and interesting pictures certainly give us a clue to what the music might be like.

"The Dumb Fish" features pulsating keys, percussion and violin early on then clarinet but there is so much going on, a phrase I probably will repeat a lot. Male vocals after 2 minutes and I have to say that the male vocals provided by several people certainly have character and suit the music well. Often there are multi-vocals. "Horse-Shaped Cloud" opens with violin, percussion, clarinet and more. Male vocals after 1 1/2 minutes. This is a toe-tapper but man this is complex. Sax leads for a while then it settles back 3 minutes in. So good! It picks up with a circus vibe before 4 minutes and this continues to the end.

"Miracle Pigeon" hits the ground running, insanity! MIRIODOR comes to mind here. It's a little heavier a minute in after someone shouts. More vocals before 2 minutes. "East Is Fort Orthodox" sounds different from the rest with organ helping out as the music sort of floats along. It settles into an intricate groove after 1 1/2 minutes then the vocals join in. We get synths and sax as well. The male vocals are determined and deep 3 1/2 minutes in. A haunting and somewhat spacey conclusion to this one. Great track! "Secret Crevise" has such an incredible and intense intro. Strange vocals follow and is that moog? Just mind-bending music. How can they possibly play this? I like the sax 5 minutes in.

"Tragic Penguin" is relaxed with electric piano to start as other laid back sounds help out. I like the background synths. Violin joins in then guitar around 1 1/2 minutes. It starts to come more alive before 2 1/2 minutes then the guitar and violin start to lead. Drums join in then vocals before 3 1/2 minutes then it settles back but is heavier before 4 minutes. This is filled with intricate sounds the rest of the way. "Catapult" has so much energy to it and it's lot of fun as well. Vocals after a minute. A nice heavy sound 3 1/2 minutes in with sax over top. It picks up again after 4 1/2 minutes. Some brief vocals as well. How impressive does this sound before 9 minutes? A collage of sounds weaved so perfectly together.

"Aviator Prosco" might be my favourite. Sax and atmosphere to start and this one has female vocals in it. It turns instrumental around 4 1/2 minutes with horns over top. Vocals are back a minute later. Another instrumental break with guitar out front, then bass as horns blast, then lots of piano and strings. Vocals are back late. "Abominable Pelican" is the closer and longest track at 14 minutes. The vocals are most prominant on this one. It's kind of funky after 4 minutes, very cool. Lots of strings and bass in this one. I feel like I should be dancing or something while hearing this. It settles some with violin at 8 minutes and I really like the drum work. Keyboards lead 9 1/2 minutes in. Synths and vocals follow.

If your looking for some adventerous music played and arranged at the highest level you really need to check this album out.

 Bantam to Behemoth by BIRDS AND BUILDINGS album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.24 | 502 ratings

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Bantam to Behemoth
Birds And Buildings Eclectic Prog

Review by Alucard Draco

5 stars This is my first review after being a fan of this site for many years - I blame this site entirely for the amount of money spent on great albums and yet again more money is spent. I'll keep this short but ultimately this album is Eclectic Prog Heaven and nothing less. As so many times on this site I have just been blown away with the continuation of harmony, insanity and shear Whimsical delight and I think this Album expresses most of this. Without going into individual songs of perfect quality, I will just finish this review by saying "This is the reason life can be so good, when a soundscape of this magnitude flows into my ears and processed by my brain and transforming it into a sonic medium that increases through every hearing". Thanks for reading this and simply Keep on Progging.
 Multipurpose Trap by BIRDS AND BUILDINGS album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.16 | 372 ratings

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Multipurpose Trap
Birds And Buildings Eclectic Prog

Review by bhikkhu
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Team

5 stars It's a happy day in this prog household when a new Dan Britton project is released. Even the cat likes it. Dan Briton has become recognized as one of the most inventive and original composer / musicians in the new generation of prog. Everything he is involved with bears his signature yet maintains a separate identity. Much like Mike Patton, you know it's him but you can also easily pick out which band you are hearing.

My introduction was with the first Deluge Grander album. Then came the more avant-garde Birds and Buildings with its debut 'Bantam to Behemoth.' Another Deluge Grander followed and in the fall of 2013 Birds and Buildings had their next turn with 'Multipurpose Trap.'

In describing this, or any other progressive music, comparisons to other artists are bandied about as if by necessity. Granted, finding a baseline for context isn't easy without those kind of references. I do however grow weary of the usual, 'It's a blend of this with a dollop of that, mashed with A and a bit of B thrown in.' or 'If X and Y had a baby'' Do you want to know what Birds and Buildings sounds like? It sounds like Birds and Buildings. Okay, some kind of description is warranted. In the band's words, 'We play a mixture of intense jazz-rock (often bordering on zeuhl), more experimental symphonic music, and occasional avant-garde heaviness.' Got it? If you want more the band has posted some track-by-track explanation on their page.

What needs to be said is this challenging, sometimes dark stuff, that tries not to take itself too seriously. While the music may not as impenetrable as the influences the band drew from, it isn't exactly easy listening either. That was true of the debut as well. Keeping within the established B&B framework, 'Multipurpose Trap' expands on what worked before and explores new ground. A good example is 'Horse-Shaped Cloud' which has a bit of a medieval folk groove to it (that's right, I used groove in reference to medieval folk). Symphonic does not have as much of a presence in deference to emphasis on the avant and at times downright crazy. Take for example 'Secret Crevice.'

The first one was immensely enjoyable and would seem very hard to top. Against all odds they did it. There is a kind of well-planned schizophrenia going on. From the aforementioned folk, to lament, funky grooves and full freak-out, there is an even flow. Even in the height of chaos melody is never completely abandoned. Well, almost never. There are moments where the band gets to the speed and energy of a punk band. Much like Cardiacs except for the fact they actually were punks doing prog. The only complaint I had about the last album has also been corrected. That was the vocals being too low in the mix. Okay this vocal style is meant to be more of a subdued kind of barely intelligible chant but I still want to hear it. If you listen very carefully you may discover the bird theme in the lyrics.

The band needs to be recognized for their skill as well. The talent is as good as gets and every bit of it was poured into this recording. I imagine a lot of broken strings and smoking amps during these sessions. Brett d'Anon shines especially brightly as he approaches Jannick Top territory on the bass. The singers also gel quite nicely with Megan Wheatly standing out as usual.

'Multipurpose Trap' created a conundrum. I have a special place in my heart for Deluge Grander because I worked with Dan in getting them added to Prog Archives and 'The Form of the Good' was the catalyst for starting my blog. Facts are facts though and with this release I now prefer Birds and Buildings. It's a fantastic album by a tremendous group.

H.T. Riekels

Thanks to avestin for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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