Birds and Buildings — Bantam to Behemoth
(Emkog Records 002, 2008, CD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2008-10-01Like Dan Britton’s other project, Deluge Grander, this is an album for true prog geeks. It’s the same sort of uncompromising assault on the ears that was so riveting on Änglagård’s debut or Finisterre’s In Limine. Instrumentally, Bantam to Behemoth presents a heady stew of Britton’s guitars and analog keyboards (Fender Rhodes, piano, Mellotron, pianet, and synths), drums (from Malcolm McDuffie), bass (courtesy of fellow DG alum Brett d’Anon, as well as the saxes, flute and clarinet of Brian Falkowski. Britton sings in a few places with better results than the Deluge Grander album, but like all hardcore prog albums this one’s all about the instrumental music anyway. The marriage between the players and the arrangements is generally excellent and most of the material is the sort of spirited and kinetic to and fro seen in “Caution Congregates and Forms a Storm” or “Birds Flying into Buildings.” A more pastoral feel pervades the songs “Chronicle of the Invisible River of Stone” and the closer “Sunken City,” the former graced by the lovely vocals of Megan Wheatley, recalling Steve Hackett’s “Shadow of the Hierophant” from Voyage of the Acolyte. The feminine and masculine temperaments collide in the lengthy “Yucutan 65” which should put a smile on fans of extended prog rock instrumental music, but which might bore others to tears. For my money this band excels at the Canterbury prog of “Tunguska” or the kinetic “Chakra Khan” that hints at Echolyn’s energetic drive. This one won’t win the ladies, but as prog it kills.
Related artist(s): Birds and Buildings
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more