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BIRDS AND BUILDINGS

Eclectic Prog • United States


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Birds And Buildings biography
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.

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Bantam to BehemothBantam to Behemoth
Emkog 2008
Audio CD$13.98
$10.77 (used)
Multipurpose TrapMultipurpose Trap
Emkog 2013
Audio CD$13.69
$10.99 (used)

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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)

4.23 | 328 ratings
Bantam to Behemoth
2008
4.21 | 224 ratings
Multipurpose Trap
2013

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BIRDS AND BUILDINGS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Multipurpose Trap by BIRDS AND BUILDINGS album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.21 | 224 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

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 Bantam to Behemoth by BIRDS AND BUILDINGS album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.23 | 328 ratings

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Bantam to Behemoth
Birds And Buildings Eclectic Prog

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars The first album of Dan Britton's Birds and Buildings project offers a vivid voyage to studies of classic progressive rock arrangements and compositional idioms. Its musical neo-classism is portrayed interestingly on the album covers, outer sides relying to Hieronymus Bosch's illustration (a minor detail from "Garden of Eden" painting), and the inner booklet adventuring on Kezia Terracciano's sympathetic drawings. The long album flows trough vast array of stylistic solutions, from Mellotron-driven solemn sceneries to Van Der Graaf Generator reminding saxophone assaults, not forgetting piano sequences visiting both jazzy and Renaissance-reminding symphonic passages, nor the few spoonfuls of heavier guitar riffs as a spice. The record is mostly instrumental, and I admit the maestro's vocal lines seem to be the weakest element on the technically skilful recording. I recall exchanging few messages with Mr. Britton about his Emkog-label's earlier albums I had heard, and remember he would have mentioned been studying music in Russia. The song titles have references to the place names and myths surrounding the mighty Urals, but mostly the album feels like a free ride possibility to the imagination of anybody open for this music. Really I do not find anything wrong with the album, but there seems to be also a drawback on this; I can't also find anything very special from it, and the technical virtuosity can't substitute for myself sensations of spirituality, human sincerity and spontaneous self-expression. I however underline, this perception opens only from my own personality, and based on this debut album I would certainly recommend this group to anybody open to adventurous, symphonic and technically well-crafted music. On the time of writing this, Birds and Buildings' second album "Multipurpose Trap" is also already released, which I have not heard though. From Emkog's production effort's seriousness might be carved to the release plans on their 2010 sampler, having release plans for 2015. The preliminary stated and possibly too optimistically estimated release years also tell their tale about the often invisible difficulties of getting already recorded songs to the markets as finished products. I personally respect the union of ambitious aims and pedantic orientation to handling of practical issues, though these factors might sometimes be not feasible on art creation process itself. There is a visit from singer Megan Wheatley on this album, and I adored her voice on the more ethereal album of group All Over Everywhere. I believe that band is my favourite of the Emkog label's groups, and I can sense the quality and stylistic diversity residing pleasantly on their release catalogue.

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 Multipurpose Trap by BIRDS AND BUILDINGS album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.21 | 224 ratings

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Multipurpose Trap
Birds And Buildings Eclectic Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy

5 stars Now I understand why they call this band BIRDS AND BUILDINGS. If you were to blast this out into the environment with loudspeakers birds would surely start flying into buildings! To call this music "busy" would be an understatement. The fact that this band so successfully fuses so many musical ideas into every moment at break-neck speed is simply astounding! Brett d'Anon's bass is the absolute wildest since classic era Yes. This is my favorite avant-prog since Mr Bungle

I definitely agree with others about the influences. This sounds like Mr. Bungle and National Health joined the circus and met Magma. All decided to jam but then the Mothers of Invention, Van der Graaf, King Crimson and countless mystery guests showed up to the party and this is the final result. This is the perfect blend of avant-prog, Canterbury jazz-fusion, zeulish rhythms and unpredictability. Unexpected snippets remind me of everything from Pink Floyd, to drone metal, even Kenny G! This everything-but-the-kitchen-sink sound really scratches my avant-prog itch. This multipurpose masterpiece has me trapped under its spell and I like it! I actually like this better than the fantastic debut album, so 6 stars!

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 Bantam to Behemoth by BIRDS AND BUILDINGS album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.23 | 328 ratings

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Bantam to Behemoth
Birds And Buildings Eclectic Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy

5 stars This is my kind of musical madness! Music meandering like birds en masse in the sky turning at a moment's notice and off in an entirely new direction. That's BIRDS AND BUILDINGS. One of the most exciting debut releases of avant-prog. This eclectic stew is astonishing in that it pays homage to the wealth of 70s heroes while simultaneously adding freshness and upgrading to the modern era.

Musically this is perfect, but the sparse male vocals could have gotten an upgrade as well. One of the only things I dislike about this album. Highly recommended to anyone who loves high energy music like zeuhl (definitely Magma influences) with eclectic elements of King Crimson, jazziness of Canterbury, saxes, crazy drumming and everything from slide guitar to soothing flutes. Must hear to believe. Too many influences to count. Eclectic to the max! 4.5 stars rounded up to 5

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 Bantam to Behemoth by BIRDS AND BUILDINGS album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.23 | 328 ratings

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Bantam to Behemoth
Birds And Buildings Eclectic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

4 stars Superb US side-project, evolving from the core of the excellent Deluge Grander.The leader Dan Britton handles the keyboards and some guitars and brings with him Brett D'Anon on bass/guitars and Brian Falkowski on sax, clarinet and flute.A new face, drummer Malcolm McDuffie, completes the line-up.The debut of Birds and Buildings under the title ''Bantam to Behemoth'' was recorded at various studios around Washington DC and was released in 2008, the second product of Britton's own Emkog Records.

Words are poor to describe Birds and Buildings' frenetic and extremely dense musicianship.Let's start by saying that they sound like a much jazzier version of DELUGE GRANDER with emphasis on music and without significant vocal presence, although symphonic hints are not absent either.Falkowski plays a major role in the group's sound.His tremendous work on clarinet and saxophone reveals a schizophenic sound with aggresive solos, loose themes and powerful drives.Combined with the very complex rhythm section, which is characterized by the ability to change tempos in a blink of an eye, the result is outstanding.The flute parts, although less pronounced, present a more ethereal and delicate side of the group.Keyboards are present in a constant groove.Bombastic loads of Mellotron, furious, jazzy electric piano deliveries and sharp use of synthesizers offer often dual, rich textures with jazzy, symphonic and orchestral leanings.The group seems totally tireless.Impressive interplays, haunting soundscapes, fast grooves and dominant solos are born through the endless tempo shifts and numerous time signatures in an album full of inspiring moments.If you want a description from famous groups, the best I could give would be if PETER GABRIEL and his flute would meet IAN MACDONALD's majestic Mellotron.Next step would be to hire ROBERT FRIPP on guitars, DAVID JACKSON from VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR on sax, DAVID STEWART from NATIONAL HEALTH on electric piano and Francois Emond from MIRIODOR on clarinet with drums provided by ARTI I MESTIERI's Furio Chirico.Orchestral movements meet Canterbury-styled Fusion meet R.I.O.-flavored Jazz Rock in long and complicated, mostly instrumental pieces.Outstanding stuff.

Grandiose, intricate and challenging Progressive Rock with a monstrous sound.Maybe too complex for fans of more traditional listenings, but the result is absolutely amazing with a weird, charming balance hidden behind this adventurous material.Highly recommended.

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 Bantam to Behemoth by BIRDS AND BUILDINGS album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.23 | 328 ratings

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Bantam to Behemoth
Birds And Buildings Eclectic Prog

Review by Kjarks

5 stars This group arrived like a kind of UFO in my musical sky : technical, intricate, extremely subtile compositions and very high level musianship. A kind of perfect integration of jazz elements in prog, the result being absolutely not jazz-rock but pure prog music.

Perpetual changes, intense energy catch you and take you for a long run in infinite labyrinths. You take a direction and you soon have to change it for a new one. Nevertheless, you are always confortably sat in a deep armchair and discover new landscapes, new colours.

Sometimes you feel you have found inedit pieces from King Crimson's "Islands" sessions and you ask yourself : maybe these archives are still better. Sometimes, you feel you are somewhere between Magma and the Mahavishnu Orchestra ! Then, an atmospheric moment drawn by synths and light piano make you float closer to the serenity of Anthony Philips or maybe Willow White. It won't last?

Impressive, even fascinating at many respects. 4,5 stars.

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 Multipurpose Trap by BIRDS AND BUILDINGS album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.21 | 224 ratings

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Multipurpose Trap
Birds And Buildings Eclectic Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

4 stars I was very curious to review this record! I had a feeling I would be a nice one and that was true. Birds and Buildings is a progressive rock band from the United States of America.Their first record "Bantam to Behemoth" from 2008 has gained a lot of appreciation and now they have released their second work "Multipurpose Trap", a 63 minutes long record with nine tracks in different lengths. The information of musicians I can see shows four members: Dan Britton(keys, guitars), Malcolm McDuffe(drums,trumpet), Brian Falkowski(saxes, flute, clarinet) and Brett d'Anon(bass,guitars). The cover picture is very nice with various items and a trap in the middle and mountains in the background.

Let's make it clear: I like this music a lot and I am quite sure it is worth five stars. It gives many hints of that. Every track proves creativity, sophisticated instrumentation and musically fantasy. Three tracks are perfect: "The dumb fish" which is very free and has something of Gryphon in it, "Horse-shaped cloud" which not excuses itself in no way and has a wonderful jazz sound and the long "Abominable Pelican" monster which is hard to acquire but totally amazing. Sometimes they flow in harmonical melodies but all the time it's so exciting. The wildness is euphoric and the band sings a lot in their avant-garde way.

I would consider this music perhaps more "free" than other prog. This is very much avant- garde but it's also a lot of jazz. All the time it's mostly very heavy. Tracks like "Miracle Pigeon", "Secret Crevice" and "Aviator Prosco" are certainly well performanced songs. There's so much to love here. What I perhaps love most is the saxophones who scream around in a brutal sophisticated way. Most of all this music is unique. As a wrote I think this record is worth five stars, but my personal taste thinks they could have been a little more varied and melodical. It also thinks this record is worth to grow and maybe later on get what it deserves.

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 Multipurpose Trap by BIRDS AND BUILDINGS album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.21 | 224 ratings

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Multipurpose Trap
Birds And Buildings Eclectic Prog

Review by pfloyd

5 stars The long awaited successor to one of my favorite albums ever. Overall, 'multipurpose trap' is pretty similar to 'Bantam to Behemoth', but has definitely evolved. The sound of this album is incredibly unique. Sometimes its sort of reminiscent of zeuhl, and at other times reminiscent of avant-prog. It almost reminds me of Frank Zappa at some points with its touch of whimsicalness (I have no idea if that's an actual word). But trying to say who this sounds like is pointless, because it's very different from any other band I've heard. It's very jazzy, very chaotic, and the musicianship is incredible. I think the album slows down a bit as it progresses, which is nice as it gives your mind a break from the chaos of the shorter songs from the first half like 'dumb fish' and 'miracle pigeon'. 'Catapult' reminds a lot of 'Birds Flying Into Buildings' from the first album. 'Aviatore Prosco' and 'Abominable Pelican' are a tad bit more easy going and even get a bit disco-ish. The later song is real weird. REAL weird, but highly enjoyable. People who are familiar with Dan Britton's other work know the singing is always the weakest aspect, but this time it is vastly improved and actually sounds pretty damn cool. Fans of Birds and building's previous album should be very pleased. 4.98 stars.

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 Multipurpose Trap by BIRDS AND BUILDINGS album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.21 | 224 ratings

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Multipurpose Trap
Birds And Buildings Eclectic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Birds and Buildings were floating the prospect of a followup to the magnificent Bantam and Behemoth back in 2010, but it's taken far longer than anticipated for the enigmatic Multipurpose Trap to manifest. I am thrilled to discover it's worth the wait, with the band teasing just enough whimsical vocals into their work to add a new twist (check out their searing indictment of the evils of the pelican on the concluding track) whilst not focusing on the vocals to the extent that their intricate instrumental gymnastics are disrupted. With a sound reminiscent of the clowns from Mr Bungle running riot in a National Health/jazz fusion/zeuhl warehouse, Birds and Buildings once again fly easily to the front rank of avant-prog.

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 Bantam to Behemoth by BIRDS AND BUILDINGS album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.23 | 328 ratings

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Bantam to Behemoth
Birds And Buildings Eclectic Prog

Review by Knapitatet

5 stars Amazing, one of the greatest albums i have ever heard by an underground act. Sometimes you find a piece of art: a film, an album or a book, that feels so perfect and mastercrafted that you can hardly believe that human beings were involved in the creation of it. This album is definitely such a work of art for me. The opening track is a 9 minute example of perfection. Every instrument from flute to sax to mellotron is playing its part perfectly, and despite the breakneck pace, they never run out of ideas. As soon as they are done with one theme they move on to the next with NO pointless noodling! The sound of this Ecletic Jazz Rock band is reminiscent of Area and Mr.Bungle and if you know my relation to those two bands then you know that that is one if the greatest compliments i can give you.

The only thing on this album that i had a beef with on my first listen, was the vocals. They sound rather akward and confused, but after careful consideration i have realized that however they sound, they are perfect for this album. An operatic Jon Andersson/ Peter Gabriel style singer would simply have ruined it.

It it sounds like im fawning, thats because i am and so should you, with good reason. "Bantam To Behemoth" really is that good.

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