Music Reviews

cover
Artist: BirdWorld
Title: Unda
Format: CD + Download
Label: Focused Silence
After meeting at an arts residency (in the canteen), Gregor Riddell and Adam Teixeira bonded over each of their field recordings, and for their debut album “Unda” much is made of the role fusing together these recordings plays in the 38-minute work. In practice, though, these field recordings are almost incidental textures or bookends at times. It’s an acoustic set-up of cello and percussion that really forms the core of this album, performing fairly energetic and jazzy duo numbers that flow with an underlying sense of good feeling.

Tracks like “WP” are good examples of the breadth of tone, packing a series of different moods into a five minute show of musical virtuosity. “Partials” and “Svifa” also shine, wrapping up the album in a broody fashion. This is firmly a studio album, overdubs and layering allowing the players to accompany themselves and create arrangements that are both bigger and more polished-sounding than any ‘true’ live performance would allow.

The most intriguing contribution from the field recordings is when they are used as vocals. What sounds like (possibly) language learning vowel sounds form a kind of mantra in “Fem mønster”, while “Choko” is a fun bit of chanting with varying levels of pitch and urgency. Less playfully, the male choir and extremely earnest spoken word tones of “Omaggio alla bellezza” very much has its serious face on.

Unfortunately this is one of those releases that doesn’t quite live up to its hype, for me. There’s a confident musical talent at play, for sure, and it’s a duo clearly reading from the same page in musical metaphor terms, but there’s something missing somehow in the innovation or inspiration stakes. If you’re looking to be calmed rather than challenged though, your take may be very different.



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