[Reviewed by: Peter Marks]
In the span of eleven titles, Electric Bird Noise re-define what experimental incidental music can be. A guitar. That’s all that is being utilized on this album and what gets done with it is remarkable! The twangs, the reverb, the echo and that glorious delay are all employed to their maximum potential. Slip this one on at the party and watch people get uncomfortable, there isn’t anything to really hang on to here. The barest shards of progressions and melodies get trotted out only to be shoved out of the way for a series of notations which are not so much notes as they are depth markers for how far down into the cave you wish to descend.
Be assured, this isn’t the sort of material made to brighten someone’s day or put a stupid, unquestioning smile on their face. To play ‘Kind of Black’ is to just let the world go and move through a kind of surrealistic revue where matter becomes solid and then turns to vapor. Where gravity has been suspended and a person utterly loses their bearings in an unrelenting storm of magnetically charged chords; the Floyd’s earliest albums sometimes would hint at this kind of misanthrope but they’d never wander too far from the norms of songwriting. Electric Bird Noise have no norms to define them (or him as the case may be), this is just one more segment of their overall musical spectrum.
Is this a stand alone suite? Will there be more? I certainly hope so. While listening to this can be somewhat challenging the first few times, eventually and insidiously it does grow on you. To the point where other songs and artists begin to sound like they are the ones who don’t make sense; it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say Hitchcock’s original version of Psycho would have benefited quite healthily from this as it’s soundtrack. No, I’m not saying the guy who composed this is anything like dear, dear Norman but he’s definitely indulging in disturbing harmonic experiments. It probably was a lot of fun to do this, to just sit down and let these sorts of moods and tones cascade out of the strings.
‘Kind of Black’ has the sort of intensity you’d expect out of, say, a panic attack. Where everything is continually on edge and sleep is not an idea to even consider. One’s nerves get lit up like a Christmas tree when this is coming out of the speakers, short circuited by the barrage of myriad multiplying thoughts tumbling out of a mind that just won’t switch off. Imagine, if you can, what would happen if you went to turn off your computer and it somehow just kept booting back up. Each time you’d grow a little more panicked, a bit more undone…Slowly, with an inexorably inescapable pace, the synapses in your skull would begin to fray and snap.
Here you can dwell in a place which stalks sanity like a pack of Jackals hounding wounded prey. You can puzzle over how this was done, you might even try to be the bright star that this doesn’t affect (best of luck with that), or you can offer up no resistance and bathe in these enigmatically titled pieces – 1 through 11, that’s all the explanation you get – because whether you want them to or not, they’re coming for you.
Electric Bird Noise – Kind of Black
Silber Records, Silber 151