longrally on 02/27/2011 at 07:05PM
A couple weeks ago Acid Birds stopped by WFMU's studios at the tail end of a swing through the midwest and up the east coast. We got the band good and rehearsed and buoyed by Snowpocolypse 2011, no doubt. Acid Birds consists of members of two longtime favorite improvising ensembles Gold Sparkle Band and Peeesseye, both of whom have graced WFMU with their presences in years past.
The band is aptly described as psychedelic free jazz and chooses to pull the best parts of each to form it's dinosaur-toothed sound. (Maybe I should say dinochicken due to the reverse engineering?) I'm a big fan of free blowing and also of psychedelia but it's a combo that can can get sort of messed up, and not in a good way. For example, the presence of harmonium and electronics (played by Acid Bird Jaime Fennelly), could be troubling to you. (Good) free jazz requires the ability to adapt and react quickly and there are countless instances of electronics and jazz turning lumpy when shaken, curdling in the mouth. Thankfully, Acid Birds turns this into a strength. I marveled at Jaime's reflexes and you'll hear several moments where his electronics converse in the manner of an acoustic instrument, then provoke Charles Waters (clarinet, bass clarinet, percussion) and Andrew Barker (drums, percussion), both exceptionally reflective musicians, off towards a higher place. This music will get inside you.
Free jazz itself, as with psychedelia, was once so revolutionary. Imagine! It's difficult to impress anyone these days. Let me just say that these three musicians have a collective heaviness about them. I'm convinced that this is some of the more vital underground music being made. I hope you enjoy it. Many thanks to Ruaraidh Sanachan for engineering.