Electric Bird Noise
Unleashing the Inner Robot
Silber Media, 2014
Review by Kent Manthie
Ahoy, another release by the fabulous Electric Bird Noise, out on the unique Silber Media, which has brought us other such interesting things as Remora, Slicnaton, Chvad SB, Rollerball and more; look out for a new review coming soon for Rollerball’s latest, Bathing Music and check out both Chvad SB’s latest, Crickets Were the Compass and a review for EBN’s previous release, Bird Noise, all here on Independent Review.
Well, EBN’s new release is Unleashing the Inner Robot, a very aptly named album for a electronic-based outfit versed in the art of mixing drone, ambient, “noise-rock” and combining that with some wistful, western, analog juxtapositions that really complement the electronic sparks. For example, one of the prettiest songs on Unleashing the Inner Robot is the second cut, “Lazy Tumble Weeds”. Then, man, did I get a tingly feeling upon hearing the next tune, “Japanese Toy Song”: the main melody that flows through it has a distinct similarity to the last cut on Julee Cruise’s debut album, Floating Into the Night, on which all tracks were written by David Lynch (lyrics) and Angelo Badalamenti (music). See, in Lynch’s TV foray, Twin Peaks, Ms. Cruise could be seen in various episodes singing these beautiful, dreamy, even ethereal, love songs. Well, around the time of the show’s cult success and the buzz around it, Lynch and the man who’s scored most, if not all, of his films, Angelo Badalamenti, wrote a number of songs, expanding on the few that we see Julee and her back-up band performing at this “roadhouse” kind of bar in the town of Twin Peaks, ID. Anyway, the whole album is entrancing, melancholy, even cathartic too: it’s so beautiful it could make one cry, if for no other reason, then because it’s so heavenly that it evokes something sad or painful in one’s past or a longing for something come and not to be seen again, etc.
Anyway, getting back to EBN, I was just so taken aback when I heard “Japanese Toy Music”: I don’t mean to, in any way, say that they were ripping off the Julee Cruise song, but it was just that that particular bit of music was tugging at me, as if I knew it and heard it before. It took me a little bit, but I finally figured it out. However, EBN’s tune takes a different tack: they’ve sped things up, they don’t focus on the ambiance of the Cruise song, it’s just a few chords put together; that doesn’t really mean anything in itself. What’s cool about it, though, is that they make it work as a total EBN tune. And, I think it’s nice how they take a melancholy melody and, although, sped up a bit, they do it “straight” -no funky vibes or discrete samplings. It’s a great ride.
I’m sorry, I think I’m getting away from the subject at hand: well, let me go on: Other tunes on Unleashing the Inner Robot have more of an electronic edge to them, but they aren’t the kind to eschew guitars, or drums or other analog instrumentation for the sake of being automated music robots. They are first and foremost, into making music that sounds like good music – to hell with what it is that they use.
Other tunes, like “Cloudless Sulfur” or “Number 3” are great works on which the digital and analog complement each other well. “The Shape of Clouds to Come” is a seductive, dreamwave with more on the electronica side. The same can be said of “Three Thousand and Two”, a perfect ambient score. It dazzles, it sparkles, but not in a gaudy way, more like a quiet flicker one may see from a distance; calling one closer and closer.
So, anyway, this is definitely, I thought so anyway, album that comes from Brian Mitchell’s Silber Media. I thought it would be a great example to use in order to show that not all of Silber’s music is drone, dubstep or “noise”-rock/ambient. Electric Bird Noise are a great talent and it’s Silber’s great fortune to have them on their label. The last album I reviewed by EBN was similarly different from the norm – Kind of Black had a bit of jazz to it – maybe even unconsciously, but there was definitely this dark, quiet storm of jazz and electronica which really titillated the ears. Like Kind of Black, I highly recommend Unleashing the Inner Robot. I hope you feel the same. KM.