Brian Mckenzie, Rev. Doc. Scromps and Trey McMantis are three individuals behind the underground act, Electric Bird Noise, known perhaps from the regular additions to several of Silber Media’s free download compilations.
Now with their full release, Fragile Hearts…Fragile Minds we get the opportunity to examine more deeply the creative soundscape these three individuals can produce when left to their own devices.
What will be most striking at the outset is Electric Bird Noises’ seemingly rebellious stroke of idiosyncrasies, having only one track in an album consisting of five at twenty six minutes. A strange thing to note you might think but with the electronic drone/ambience EBN produce and with their ties to Silber bands such as Remora, Small Life Form and Kobi (in terms of their sound) it does come as a surprise that while peers in the similar field produce lengthy passages, here we have four tracks in unison all spanning less then eleven minutes combined.
As refreshing as this may be (though a fan of the hallmark lengthy drone track, I too can find it a tad reparative at times) it’s possible that EBN have gone too far in the opposite direction.
Take the opening track for example, ‘Thank You for Helping Me Feel Human Again’. While producing a quirky and intriguing low-fi electronica sound, the track has ended before it really begins, leaving you wondering whether you’ve pressed the stop button accidentally.
‘We Share More Than My Father’s Last Name’, meanwhile, while slightly longer in duration, suffers a similar fate, although here a more prominent, cinematic resonance is produced, having a found-sound quality to it via the slow rhythmic beatings and shaking of various unknown-to-me items.
‘Fall of the World Trade Centre’, a track expertly placed within Silber’s end of the world compilation, is, however, when the release really picks up character and dimension, using a rumbling and foreboding noise to underlay a distorted piano piece, giving the composition a sense of impending doom, an audible precursor to an expected disaster (heightened with the name of the track no less)
Finally then to ‘Vestibule transitoire’ and to perhaps where the group’s efforts are truly captured. A track that uses its eerie ambient quality and haunting distant hums to engage your attention so completely, you’ll think the rest of the album was just a daydream and this is really where it begins.
While not a terrible release, Fragile Hearts…Fragile Minds does however leave you neither wanting or interested in hearing more of their work, this simply down to the fact of just how short a creation it is, a shame given that in a live setting both their music and mise-en-scene is reputedly both captivating and hypnotic, two powerful elements sadly lacking in this attempt.
To put it as concisely as EBN’s release: don’t bother but for the last two tracks as the rest will fly by without you even noticing anyway.