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NEW ALBUM: ANDREW BIRD - Echolocations: River
ANDREW BIRD ~ Echolocations: River

[Image: R-10969568-1507406792-1607.jpeg.jpg]

The ever experimental Mr Bird has literally waded into a river for his latest release which is a sequel to his 2015 album, Echolocations: Canyon. One of those artists that simply cannot be put in a box, he is an excellent violinist, which is a primary but not the sole instrument here, and from what I can gather, he’s given us a combination of both field and studio recordings. This is not sonic wallpaper, it’s far too engaging and too intelligent – focused on the sounds and surrounds that were chosen as his setting, i.e. the Los Angeles River, near Atwater Village, underneath the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge.
The track listing:
1              The Cormorants              
2              Ellipses
3              Lazuli Bunting   
4              Gypsy Moth      
5              Black-Crowned Night-Heron      
6              Down Under the Hyperion Bridge           
7              Dear Killdear     
8              The Green Heron
I love the track titles which are all relevant to the site; a good few bird names (another echo/reflection, of course), all of which are survivors - common or garden varieties and which appear on the spectrum of endangered species as of 'least concern', despite one or two exotic names – “Lazuli Bunting”, for example. Their blue and gold plumage is named for the sparkling semi-precious stone, beloved by Egyptian royalty, and later by the old masters for its yield of ultramarine pigment. The only title I’m not sure of is “Ellipses” which may have something to do with riverine ebb and flow, unless I'm sadly mistaken.
In terms of ‘sounds like’ – I’d say somewhat akin to the new Penguin Café, but sparser. This offering is avant-garde, but not so much that it doesn’t make sense to those of us who have more conservative tastes, nor can it in any way be accused of being orthodox! Whatever the labels may say, this really doesn’t fit into folk or world music IMHO, although there are a few positively eastern and relatively chirpy sounds emerging now and then, brightening up and complementing deeply ambient stretches. On the whole, I find the album uplifting and beautiful, and with each listen, I feel more drawn to, and appreciative of the content. Almost pastoral, in a way, and evocative of a certain era of romantic English poets and painters in places (to my mind, at any rate – don’t know why, maybe the odd chamber music reference). The aforementioned poets etc., wouldn’t have a single clue what to make of this, I’m sure! Instrumental from start to finish, (aside from a little wordless singing) for those who don’t go there!
I’m choosing this track – “Gypsy Moth” ...

"The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us." ~ Bill Watterson

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