Sunday, July 25, 2010

Bird EP - Dirty Beaches (Fixture Records)

Bird EP

Dirty Beaches
Fixture Records.

SCQ Rating: 67%

Recently, while waiting in line for a show, I was talking about Dirty Beaches when a friend asked what the one-man project sounded like. At a loss for easy descriptors, I started with how I really prefer movies without soundtracks but if I were to ever make a film…- But before I could finish, I realized what a pretentious twit I sounded like, even among a steady line of costumed hipsters. So I shut up. Even two weeks on, though, Bird EP instantly calls to mind the quirky soundtracks of beatnick art films that make aimless driving seem cinematic, and bohemianism into lavish incidental culture. What a film score Dirty Beaches could create.

Perpetually in slow-motion tailspin, Bird EP’s seven tracks pace the footsteps of snippets recited repeatedly until the same fractured melodies fuse into a backdrop that’s as bizarre as it is hypnotic. No arch defines or dramatizes these tracks; they all end where they began. That Dirty Beaches operates such unassuming compositions - only one of which reaches the three-minute mark - should explain why each track behaves interchangeably. The warped organs that deadpan over ‘O’Farrell’’s dirge echo in ‘North East Station’’s serene rumination. Elsewhere the loitering and bored electric piano of ‘West Coast Bird’ takes a more purposeful role in the crawling ‘Tango Tango’. None of these instrumental moments feel stitched into their respective songs, nor are they too dependent upon their confines to mess about independently. Like a student of jazz, Dirty Beaches prioritizes rhythm above all else; every other squeal or buzz is just the negative space breathing.

If Bird EP sounds languid or monotonous, you’re probably listening for familiar genre dynamics. Don’t bother. Dirty Beaches may provoke notions of dub and psychedelia at times but this release truly belongs under imaginary classifications. Indeed, like a soundtrack for your daily life should.


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