BIRDSONGS OF THE MESOZOIC – Dawn Of The Cycads

Cuneiform

Believe me, it’s never too late to discover how great Birdsongs Of The Mesozoic have always been. This not enough sung group started activities in an era where synth-pop was believed to be the Verb, instantly stirring up the interest of listeners who privilege musicians able to play instruments for real. The latter feature – inserted in a collective vision where “progressive” tones, RIO-derived independence and Igor Stravinsky are but three of a multitude of influences – is the very reason for which listening to this stuff brings utter pleasure to this day. This double CD comprises the early recordings of the original lineup (Erik Lindgren, Roger Miller, Martin Swope and Rick Scott). It gathers a trio of EPs on Ace Of Hearts (the self-titled debut, Magnetic Flip and Beat Of The Mesozoic) with a few bonus cuts and a live set from 1987 in a stimulating package, a total of over two hours of excellent playing. As Scott recalls, “we played in rock clubs, but read from sheet music”.

The quartet was skilled to the point of performing highly complex orchestrations through a reduced instrumental setup quite heavy on keyboards and synthesizers, enriched by guitar and percussion, typified by the mechanical (yet human) pounding of programmed drum machines and complemented by atypical insertions and noises whenever the occasion arose. Still, aside from oddities such as the rendition of “The Rite Of Spring” and the eccentric “Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous”, the cream of their exciting work lies in the unforgettable radiance of “The Orange Ocean”, “Pulse Piece”, “Scenes From A…” and “Slo-Boy”. Tunes mixing minimalist techniques, harmonic sensibility and rhythmic complexities in a way that involves completely, retrieving sweet memories while making us whimper about the good old times. In the age of silent contemplation of musical nonbeing, bands like BOTM should be protected by the WWF as exemplars in extinction. Snatch a copy of this, then proceed to buy the whole discography.

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