A strange but strangely compelling record
The Bird School of Being Human
(Robot Ekephant Records)
US: 10 Sep 2012
UK: 10 Sep 2012
This odd but strangely compelling little record is a seven-song cycle that relies heavily on bird imagery to convey its themes of… well, I don’t really know what. Opener “Red Kite (Prelude)” utilizes plucked harp and quavery little-girl vocals to create a dreamy soundscape that gradually builds into something foreboding courtesy of layered synths and rumbling undertones of percussion (or possibly thunder). As the record goes on, the tunes become busier and louder; the techno-fuzz of “Sparrow” is so layered as to lend its source material—it seems to contain references to Dolly Parton’s “Little Sparrow”—all but unrecognizable. “Magpie” brings us back to acoustic-strumming territory, before “Crow” delivers us to a feedback-laden fuzzscape. Through it all, those little-girl vocals act as our guide, the one constant in these endlessly shifting sonic sands. Definitely an oddball record, then—but in a good way.