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David Bird — Mirrors
(Bandcamp no#, 2020, DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2020-10-14

Mirrors Cover art

Bird is a composer and producer originally from Southern California, now based in New York City. His debut album, Mirrors, reflects a highly explorative aesthetic, utilizing loops, samples, drones, noise, saturation, and microtonal harmonies, using acoustic instruments, electronics, voice, and more. The result, on its face, seems highly experimental, though it is by no means ‘difficult’ listening — in fact each of the ten pieces is nothing short of fascinating and curious, perhaps even meditative. Bird is an untrained vocalist, yet by recording and looping samples of his voice, which he later layered, pitch-shifted, and distorted, he has assembled choir-like totalities. The entire endeavor only lasts about thirty minutes, but every second here counts, one track leading right into the next; one might not even be aware of the transition because things seem to be changing all the time. One has to wonder how the vocal sounds are reassembled, as they are churning and twisting as they are layered on top of one another; maybe he used something like a Mellotron but recorded his own tape samples for it, but there are a lot of deep pulses and electronics mixed in with each cut, not like any common synthesizer might sound, but sounding more like bits of taped sounds spliced together way back in the day, with all the glitches and odd percussive artifacts. The opener “Nothing in the Road” approaches like a distant train, the sound built up from a massed quavering choir that eventually overcomes the listener with detail and sonic artifacts. At first reminiscent of an accordion, “-” (yes, that’s the title) eventually morphs into some microtonal chaos, then closes with some strange vocalized electronics. “Yellow Dead Centre” takes the voices one step further, almost forming syllables as the piece proceeds. The deep bass pulses that introduce “Chet Holifield Federal Building” brings in a bunch of electronic beeps and unusual artifacts along with the by now usual vocal twists and turns, into a gentle but beautiful soundfield. “City” finds a patchwork of voices creating some interesting syllables again, amid a field of glitchy transients. There’s a lot more to discover here, Bird has created a most unusual synergism of creative ideas, well beyond comparison.

Filed under: New releases, 2020 releases

Related artist(s): David Bird

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