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Birds and Buildings is based in Washington, DC. We play a mixture of intense jazz-rock (often bordering on zeuhl), more experimental symphonic music, and occasional avant-garde heaviness.
The lineup is:
Dan Britton: keyboards and guitars
Brett d'Anon: bass and guitars
Brian Falkowski: sax, flute, and clarinet
Chris Fyhr: violin
Malcolm McDuffie: drums and percussion
Megan Wheatley, Chris West, Cliff Phelps, Miyuki Furukawa, Brett d'Anon, Dan Britton: vocals
The second Birds and Buildings is "Multipurpose Trap"
and will be available on CD in October 2013.
There is singing on every track by up to six singers, but only for a minute or less on most of the tracks. This will confuse people who want to label each song "instrumental" or "vocal"! Ha ha!
There's also an elaborate booklet. I encourage people to actually buy the CD to see just how elaborate it is. I think its design might be completely unique.
There are nine songs:
1. The Dumb Fish (3:16)
This one is jazzy and catchy. There's some very "tight" playing here.
2. Horse-Shaped Cloud (4:31)
This one goes from (a) a perky theme that reminded me of the great band Deerhoof to (b) maybe the most intense and Anglagardian idea we've ever done, back to the perky theme (a), but this time more in a country music sort of way. Surprisingly it doesn't feel too disjointed. The song is about flying in a hot-air balloon, then getting blown around by a horse-shaped cloud, then landing safely. Though there are only two lines to the lyrics, the music will help tell the story.
3. Miracle Pigeon (2:24)
A soundtrack to a nonexistent comic book about a superhero pigeon. I actually wanted get someone to do an animated cartoon to this, but that probably would have been more work that it would be worth.
4. East is Fort Orthodox (5:53)
This is a murky prequel to the next song.
5. Secret Crevice (5:49)
This one doesn't let up at all from beginning to end. Very intense, very dark, very fast, and very tricky. This would make a great show-opener, maybe with the preceding track.
6. Tragic Penguin (7:08)
The entire track is built around an improvisation I did on electric piano on November 17, 2007. It was a lot of fun to build stuff around it, and sometimes I think this is actually a genuinely progressive way to make music.
7. Catapult (10:09)
Requisite offspring of "Birds Flying Into Buildings" or "Battalion." 10 minutes of 20-second ideas, one after the other. But there is some design- it's not completely randomly arranged, anyway.
8. Aviator Prosco (10:12)
Yes, that's "progressive disco" and to make matters worse for closed-minded prog fans, this one starts out with a very breezy jazz feel very unlike everything we've done before, but the kind of thing that Brian and Malcolm are great at playing. I like the evolution from jazz to disco, and the chord sequence for this song is very Tony Banksian, even though Brian wrote almost half the song and has never really cared much for the one Genesis album (A Trick of the Tail) I lent him.
9. Abonimable Pelican (14:00)
This is built around a very simple theme that Malcolm improvised against, and then I built some completely different stuff around what Malcolm recorded. People will often think the longest song on an album is the best song, but I guess it's ok to say this is not my favorite song on the album, though I do think it turned out well. It's much more repetitive than any of the other songs, but I think that might actually be refreshing after being bombarded with a new musical idea every few seconds.
If you want to buy this CD as directly from the band as possible, go here:
The first Birds and Buildings album was "Bantam to Behemoth," released in April 2008.
(artwork by Hieronymus Bosch)
Bantam to Behemoth (2008)
1. Birds Flying Into Buildings (9:13)
2. Terra Fire (3:36)
3. Tunguska (6:33)
4. Caution Congregates and Forms a Storm (10:53)
5. Chronicle of the Invisible River of Stone (9:19)
6. Yucatan 65: The Agitation of the Mass (10:35)
7. Chakra Khan (5:59)
8. Battalion (9:55)
9. Sunken City, Sunny Day (3:19)
(artwork by Kezia Terracciano)