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Birdsongs Of The Mesozoic: Extreme Spirituals

Known for off-the-beaten-path compositions soaked with quirk and dissonance, east coast avant-garde quartet Birdsongs Of The Mesozoic's seventh studio excursion is a bit of an experiment even for them. For Extreme Spirituals, BOTM adapts a number of "spirituals," odes sung by guest vocalist Oral Moses, possessor of an unearthly baritone that easily transposes to bass. Gospel prog? Who knows, but it's doubtful any group ever beat BOTM to this punch (unless one counts Eela Craig's Missa Universalis, from the '70s). The instrumentation is consistent with the Birdsongs sound, propelled by Erik Lindgren's grand piano, Michael Bierylo's guitar, Ken Field's sax & flute, and Rick Scott's polysynths (not all tracks sport drums, but those that do are by way of guest Larry Dersch's kit). The lion's share of the tracks are arranged by Lindgren, but one of the more striking arrangements is Bierylo's "A Little More Faith In Jesus," and pretty close to rockin' it gets Scott's tinkling synth timbres and orchestral samples lend a symphonic air, too. The somber veneer of "...Motherless Child" reins in the classical opera ouevre, channelled by Moses' mournful performance and Lindgren's & Field's piano and flute. "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" swings into ambient/minimalist territory with synth tones meandering back and forth like chemtrails and Lindgren's delicate piano line. "Wayfaring Stranger" is arranged by Field and emphasizes instruments, particularly his sax, as much as Moses' voice. The upbeat "Great Day" is the most anthemic piece, bolstered by bright string pads, fortitudinal piano, and a sax melody that all oddly reminds of Keith Emerson's Nighthawks go figure. "Oh Freedom" is another more ambient piece, floating and serene. Another Lindgren arrangement, his piano is rather understated on "Amen." It's as close to dissonance as BOTM may get on Extreme Spirituals, but it's only implied by the players' activity in a two-minute instrumental prelude of staccato sax pitches, burbling synth bass and Zawinul-like analog squibbles, and trancelike percussion. The boppin' tom-tom parts and general vibe of resolution make this fitting for a film's end titles.


1. I'm A Rollin' (5:31)
2. Couldn't Hear Nobody Pray (3:23)
3. A Little More Faith In Jesus (5:37)
4. Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child (4:07)
5. Joshua Fit The Battle Of Jericho
6. Swing Low Sweet Chariot (4:17)
7. Listen To The Angels Shoutin' (4:20)
8. Wayfaring Stranger (4:13)
9. Great Day (5:05)
10. Nobody Knows The Trouble I See (5:11)
11. Oh Freedom (4:44)
12. Amen (5:23)

Total time 57:16

Added: March 25th 2007
Reviewer: Elias Granillo
Related Link: Birdsongs Of The Mesozoic Official Site
Hits: 4337
Language: english

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