8/10 Ant Staff review, 19 August 2011
A superb double whammy wax hit this week from BR, the first of which is rotating right now. Acid Birds is the work of Andrew Barker (drums and percussion), Jaime Fennelly (harmonium and electronics) and Charles Waters (alto saxophone and bass clarinet). Things get straight into action with some clattering free jazz/improv complete with alto sax wailing, tumbling drums and discrete but perfectly deployed electronic squeals. Andrew is pretty manic with his drums, the sax squawks in fine style and then the electronics take the fore while the other guys have a brief rest and allow the sine waves to pulsate while drums fade away and sax is reintroduced in a much calmer manner. Gradually the electronics build like muted techno and the sax gets some additional effects. Eventually the drums kick back in and things get super elongated, bordering on cacophony but skillfully retaining the original mood of the track. The sax playing becomes particularly good and then retreats giving way to slowly fading drones. The free music vibes continue on the second track (sorry I cannot name them as I'm reviewing from home on a CDr) with guttural vocals, and a massive sense of tension created by squiggling scraping sounds of which I'm unable to identify the source. The drums rumble under a heady drone with different sax and feedback sounds moving between channels. A short but well constructed piece which comes before the monolithic final number which clocks in at just under fifteen minutes. This baby lets rip with squelching electronic pulses, tumbling drums and some superb alto sax mayhem. The drums pound away fairly relentlessly and the sax is ultra wild. Their is a brief respite until eventually carnage ensues and all players just totally go for it, reasonably full on for a bit, then wind down a touch and then hit back into full chaos mode. Super nice artwork on the sleeve too.
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