|A1||If Full Of Care Part 1||0:44|
|A2||Haunt My Existence||7:26|
|A3||Creature Of My Night||3:13|
|A4||The Love Song||3:30|
|A5||Shadows Of Our Mind||3:25|
|A6||Another Thousand Eyes||4:14|
|B1||Without The World||3:47|
|B2||Dare I Feel||3:25|
|B3||Demons In Our Midst||5:47|
|B4||Wake To The Dream||4:24|
|B6||If Full Of Care Part 2||0:48|
Voucher for digital download included.
Birds of Passage - The death of our invention LP
The following review was written by Drastic Steps. You can read more of his reviews and stream his DJ mixes HERE:
Often listeners and commentators of music treat “the vocals” differently from other sound making contraptions. This partitioning is perhaps to underscore a perceived ontological difference in the sounds (and acts) of “singing” and that of “playing.” But the impeccable artistry or that relentless alchemical wanderings of Alicia Merz (who performs under the poetic journey called Birds of Passage) reveal the tenuousness of this commonly held analytical distinction between voice and instruments. She plays her voice, and her tools sing with her; often they congeal like the world held upside down on a clear lake, where the reflection and reality meld. Sometimes her poetic pieces are an orchestra of ephemeral whispers emanating from whispers of orchestration, as if “far off from somewhere you can hear her call,” the “shadows of our mind.” In this context, I remember (London-based) Daughter’s 'Switzerland', and a couple of their thoughtful EPs that popped up in my collection a few years ago. “Haunt of my Existence,” starts like, to use my South Asian musical sensibilities, a twilight Raaga, blooming slowly in the pace of a first movement (Aalaap). Here, Birds of Passage demonstrates the ethereal yarn-ing and yearning of voice. Slowly and surely voice manifests as a knitting mechanism. And the voice is like water, (to change the title of one of my favorite short stories by Gabriel Garcia Marquez). In my studio, the last layers of late evening sun creak through windows and sit beside the delicate tidal waves of bass and expansive swelling of keyboards. To “fill the night air with whispers,” it starts drizzling outside. The drenched city streets, like metallic streaks of light, long to go somewhere else, and throughout the album, there is also a longing that doesn’t belong anywhere. The sadness is meticulous and ecstatic. This album reminds us that in the forlorn parts of the house that we sometimes call the heart, with all the “lizards and the gutter,” there is also a garden, where big flowers raise the tiny ones, and “my angels go to sleep.”
Alicia takes us to a different dreaming as “Demons in the Mist” arrives with its guitar; a soft tonality of a melancholic resolve. Alicia exercises simplicity, humility, economy, yet the art is intellectually sophisticated, which, to me, is the essence of graceful elegance. “Can’t tell you where I’m going\though I know you will look\for my footprints in the dust.” In the mix “Immaculate Morsels of Sadness”, I allowed this beautiful song to blend the moods that span Masayoshi Fujita’s 'Sadness' and Ocoeur’s 'Soufle'. The plucked and bowed sections of the soldering use the voice like a malleable metal, where the “s” sounds sound like fine droplets on a void. The written piece also moves like its musical incarnation, between solitude and hope, vulnerability, and resolve. It elucidates the nuance of being socially human and accentuates the beauty of fallibility and intellectual curiosity, in a world of curated happiness and monotonous precision.
Through her lyrical craft, Birds of Passage seems to critique the highly touted model of the selfish, normal, narcissistic, functional, human. Or musically speaking, she critiques the model of the selfish voice, understood separately from instruments it “commands.” At times the voice hesitates, and wanders, becomes audibly inaudible, becomes a violin, or just flutter of birds, or the shuffling gowns that the trees wear in mists of a violin forest. Whispers with aloofness ask us “how many spring blossoms . have you kissed/how many tomorrows. have you left.”
This is an album for patient people, its an album for those who, to borrow the famous physicist Richard Feynman’s words, “wonder why they wander.” The red vinyl and the lyrics printed in beautiful cursive on the inner picture sleeve helps the serious listeners who love their platters. The illusory bluish grey mystery of the cover art bleeds into the general tenor of the album. Having this album will help you understand how we are, or to turn Alicia’s phrase, how we are love songs that we forget to sing.