Written by Spun Counterguy
There was a minute there where some of us were celebrating electronic acid jazz’s entry into mainstream culture via commercials and film in the late ’90s/early 2000s. But soon we were lamenting the genre’s premature loss of steam, at least in the public eye. That’s not to say that good recordings along those lines aren’t still being made, as evidenced by the new release we’ve got here in front of us. British producer and prolific remixer Mr. Bird’s release Bird Bird Bird is a nice little package of 13 beat-heavy, hypnotically funky jams that returns us to those heydays of acid jazz and electronica’s merging.
Fans of the genre will be pleased that there are moments on this record that feel like they were left off works by many such trailblazing artists as, say, St. Germain, Gabin, or Kraak and Smaak. But it should be said that Mr. Bird has his own original take on the familiar. “Ratface” is a dreamy nod to Augustus Pablo’s melodica work, yet featuring a guitarist madly strumming like an amped-up flamenco player. The simple ‘elevator music from the future’ feel of “Grasping at straws,” with its simple synth loop and its suggestively hypnotic vocal whispers, could’ve been on any Towa Tei collection. What in some folks’ hands might’ve been a lazy meandering dub, “I’m not there,” floats around before picking up with an electric jazz guitar with a plan and the ghost of Miles Davis’ muted trumpet floating over.
There are some of tracks that fall into the trap of being so chill, they never quite go where the listener hopes. “Wanna be good” could’ve been a great Supreme Beings of Leisure nod and “Jazz Pirate” sounds a little too much like an exercise in a pot smoker’s cut-n-paste. But tracks like “Funky Albatross” and “Baron Von Bird” make up for those stray dogs, built mostly of heavy downtempo drum loops, peppered with smatterings of vocal loops and light instrumentation. And these serve as good bridges between the chill and sometimes abstract colors that dominate the album. Stylistically, “Cenora com Noz” is the one odd one on the album, though it sounds like the solid remixes of Mr. Bird’s old soul and funk records.
Though maybe not as exciting as his plethora of remixes, Bird Bird Bird is a good one for those who need some fresh joints for the chillout lounge.
Released February 2013 on Vital Force.