Birds And Buildings -
Multipurpose Trap

(CD2013, 63:32, Emkog Records Emkog 005)

The tracks:
  1- The Dumb Fish(3:18)
  2- Horse-Shaped Cloud(4:33)
  3- Miracle Pigeon(2:27)
  4- East is Fort Orthodox(5:53)
  5- Secret Crevice(5:50)
  6- Tragic Penguin(7:08)
  7- Catapult(10:09)
  8- Aviator Prosco(10:14)
  9- Abominable Pelican(14:00)

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Multipurpose Trap is the second album by the American act Birds And Buildings. They are one of the several band projects headed by keyboardist-composer Dan Britton. Furthermore the line-up consists of Brett d'Anon (bass, guitars), Brian Falkowski (saxophones, flutes, clarinet), Chris Fyhr (violin) and Malcolm McDuffie (drums). Those who already heard their debut Bantam To Behemoth (2008) know what to expect on Multipurpose Trap: primarily complex instrumental music with many different influences from progressive rock, fusion, zeuhl, avant-garde and Canterbury scene, just to name a few genres.

To understand this mixture of different styles you probably have to see the artwork of the album as well. Multipurpose Trap has been packed in a beautifully designed artwork containing a booklet that, when unfolded, shows the weirdest possible drawings and pictures of animals and people. All those strange images represent the nine tracks on the album, which for many people may sound just as weird as the images they represent in the booklet. This certainly is not the kind of music that you'll play while reading your e-mails or the headlines in the newspaper! No, you just have to pay attention all the way through.

Every second of this more than one hour lasting CD has to be listened to intensively to fully understand what's going on. Otherwise you'll surely fail to notice that they sometimes sound like the albums King Crimson recorded in the seventies. Those albums contained many parts performed on the Mellotron, flutes and saxophones as well. Or you fail to notice that music wise they sometimes refer to bands like Magma and Mahavishnu Orchestra. Or you won't recognize the resemblance with acts like Mothers Of Invention and Van Der Graaf Generator. Or you won't hear that certain musical fragments are in the vein of Mr. Bungle and National Health. So no distractions are allowed while playing this album!

You could say that this eclectic stew of influences is astonishing and pays homage to the musical richness of the heroes of the seventies, while they simultaneously add freshness and an upgrade of the music to the present time. Musically this has been done perfectly, but the sparse male vocals could have got an upgrade as well because these are the weakest parts on the album. The nine compositions are all rather strong providing the album to sound very coherent. I have no complaints about the level of musicianship as well since all songs are well performed.

Devotees of progressive rock who enjoy the music of the above-mentioned acts and who are willing to spend some time listening to Multipurpose Trap in order to see through the music, should check out this record by Birds And Buildings! As far as I'm concerned it's certainly worth listening to!

*** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)

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