Birdsongs of the Mesozoic
Below is a list of all the Birdsongs of the Mesozoic recordings. Each CD has a link to the Cuneiform Catalog page where you can listen to a track from (and purchase!) the CD. In addition, below this section is a link to the Discogs Website where you can find and purchase new and used copies of the CDs. Please enjoy!
For their 13th album and in their 25th year together, post-punk, art-rock pioneers Birdsongs of the Mesozoic do a 180 degree musical swerve and link up with bass-baritone vocalists Oral Moses, one of the preeminent African-American performers of traditional spirituals. “Overall this is a more elegant and reverent Birdsongs album compared to past efforts, a reverence for the material that seems totally appropriate and which is given a superb execution.” — Paul Hightower
The Iridium Controversy
“Birdsongs is a band with a twenty year history. For me, this is their best CD yet! Traveling through realms of Classical, jazz, prog rock with the wall of sound textures and full instramentation. Birdsongs of the Mesozoic and The Iridium Controversy CD, stands alone and away from the tired prog pack! As people appreciate when you reference an unknown band to other bands, I will attempt to do so. Birdsongs… however, stands alone, but the musical intellegence might be simular to Renaissance, Neil Ardley, Henry Cow, (Orchestral) ELP (only better!),.. The musical pieces just flow on their own volition. Plenty of time signature changes yet the songs work, and they are NOT abrasively abrupt. The music leaves the listener intregred, reflective and not at all bored.” — Carl Johnson
2001 Live Birds
“The set list for this live recording reads pretty much exactly like what I’d put on a single CD best-of to introduce a newbie to the band, down to including their whimsical takes on the themes from Rocky & Bullwinkle and The Simpsons. Do the live versions improve upon their studio counterparts? Yes and no, though “improve” is not the proper word. The live versions are different in some cases, with the biggest change probably the higher profile of the guitar parts and some changes in the keyboard instruments used, but I wouldn’t pick either as superior. As a fan who didn’t make it to NEARfest in 2001, this is a great consolation prize; for those who were there, it makes a great souvenir; for those wanting to find out what the band with the strange name is like, it’s a great introduction.” — Jon Davis
“With their 10th recording titled Petrophonics, Boston Massachusetts based “Birdsongs Of The Mesozoic” have perhaps achieved the pinnacle of mastery with this truly superb newly released effort. Here, pianist/composer Erik Lindgren and woodwind specialist Ken Field cap off a string of successful solo ventures as the duo realigns with guitarist Michael Bierylo and synthesizer ace Rick Scott for the band’s latest and first effort in over five years. “BOTM” continues to defy any rigid semblance of categorization yet surge onward with new material and ensemble work that crosses many boundaries as these crafty artisans continually maintain a group sound that is arguably one of a kind.” — Glenn Astarita
Dancing on A'A
“They (Birdsongs of the Mesozoic) continue to sport one of the most unique and unclassifiable styles, residing somewhere between rock, jazz, and neo-classical minimalism, with echoes of industrial age experimentalism. Purely instrumental, the lineup includes dual keyboards, reeds, guitar, and a combination of electronic and acoustic percussion. Their music is a labyrinthine journey through angular passages, sometimes chaotic — sometimes serene, but filled with adventure at every turn. For anyone who hasn’t heard the Birdsongs before, they have never been better.” — Peter Thelen
1001 Real Apes
1001 Real Apes is a spoken word/sound collage performance by David Greenberger and Birdsongs of the Mesozoic. David Greenberger is the originator and publisher of The Duplex Planet, a magazine of interviews he conducted with elderly residents of The Duplex, a nursing home near Boston. For this performance David Greenberger will present selected stories from The Duplex Planet, with music and sonic landscapes provided by Birdsongs of the Mesozoic. The stories are alternately funny, moving, wise, silly, and inspirational, and provide a unique vision into the minds and souls of older people’s streams of consciousness.
With Pyroclastics, Birdsongs of the Mesozoic returned somewhat to its roots. Its signature sound — pulsing keyboards, jagged harmonies, weird time signatures, slash-and-burn guitar — is back stronger than ever; “Shortwave Longride” and “Pleasure Island” would both have sounded more or less at home on Magnetic Flip … And the band’s hilarious rendition of the theme from The Simpsons is a wry look backwards as well, a reminder of the arrangement of the Rocky and Bullwinkle theme on their first album. (Ken) Field has managed to insinuate himself so seamlessly into the Birdsongs sound by this point that while his saxophone lines do alter it noticeably, they do so subtly and from the inside — note, in particular, the subtle jazz flavoring he gives to “Tyronglaea II” … Pyroclastics definitely marks a step forward for this band, but it remains rooted in its old strengths. Recommended. — Rick Anderson
Faultline was the first Birdsongs of the Mesozoic album to be released following the departure of founding member and painist Roger Miller. They expanded briefly to a 5 piece featuring 2 saxophonists, one of whom, Ken Field, is still playing with them today. On this album their style also evolved, with large chunks of it recalling the formal structures of Art Zoyd. The revised line up gave BOTM a more varied sonic palette, although their characteristic influences (minimalism, chamber rock, contemporary avant garde and ambient) remain essentially the same… The final track (not included on the original release) is an Eno styled ambient piece of the sort that BOTM do so well, and brings the CD to a satisfactory conclusion.
The Fossil Record
“The Fossil Record collects rare and unreleased studio recordings from a period beginning with the band’s earliest days and ending with Miller’s departure in 1988. The album opens with a 1980 version of “Sound Valentine” (which would be the lead track on the band’s debut EP three years later) and bops between spiky, modal minimalist pieces (“Pulse Piece”), slabs of zen aggression (“Chen/The Arousing”), prehistoric tarantellas (“Lqabblil Insanya”), and unexpected cover versions (Brian Eno’s “Sombre Reptiles”). Very few bands have ever managed to straddle the worlds of modern classical music and rock as successfully as this one did. This compilation makes a good introduction to its art…” — Rick Anderson
Dawn of the Cycads
Birdsongs of the Mesozoic started out as a side collaboration between Roger Miller (who wanted an outlet for his keyboard compositions) and Erik Lindgren… Adding third keyboardist Rick Scott and fellow Burma member Martin Swope on guitar, the quartet recorded an eponymous EP, a full-length album (Magnetic Flip), and then another EP (Beat of the Mesozoic), all on the local Ace of Hearts label… Dawn of the Cycads is a two-disc compilation that brings together the band’s first three releases along with about 45 minutes of previously unreleased live and studio material from the same period. Those who are encountering the early recordings for the first time are in for a treat: the band’s rock/classical fusion is in full effect on tracks like “Ptoccata” and the minimalism tribute “Terry Riley’s House,” while their more whimsical side is given expression in a rollicking rendition of the theme from Rocky and Bullwinkle.
A handy 18-track précis of the first three releases by Boston avant-rockers Birdsongs of the Mesozoic (1983’s Birdsongs of the Mesozoic, 1984’s Magnetic Flip, and 1986’s Beat of the Mesozoic), 1988’s Sonic Geology is an excellent introduction to the challenging but always accessible music they created. … More importantly, this music quite often flat-out rocks. This may not be surprising considering that both Roger Miller and Martin Swope had been in the great Mission of Burma, but rarely does chamber music swing as aggressively as Miller’s “Shiny Golden Snakes.” Sonic Geology is not a replacement for the original albums — each has worthwhile material that didn’t made the CD cut — but two previously unreleased tracks, Miller’s “Pulse Piece” and Swope’s “The Common Sparrow,” will interest fans. — Stewart Mason