Quality: 4.25 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 5 out of 5
I think I've said it before, but there is a razor thin edge between transcendental synth drone music and treacly new age vapidness. There is some great value in successfully approaching the line without actually crossing it. Subterranean manages it, Jorge Reyes and Steve Roach have a pretty good run of it, and Iasos batted about .500. We'll add Bird People to the list with this release. Yeah, you've got meditative flutes of the highland bouncing around, but it's nicely balanced by some growling drones and wide open plains of meditative sound.
There are only three line pieces here, and they are nice and varied journeys to walk your mind through the universe beyond the veil. "Lord Yama" would work well as Ming the Merciless' court music on one of his average days, with Indian approximated sound competing with writhing synth tones and some guitar tones that Brian May might spew out while tripping in the observatory. Are we all getting these references? - the 1980 "Flash Gordon" film? - Queen soundtrack? - Brian May is also an astrophysicist? I don't want to be condescending, I'm just making sure that I'm not writing completely up me own arse. Then "Oya's Dance" sort of borrows a bit of Sun Ra's 1963 delayed percussion tones and throws it over the new age crystal pyramid for a fun recast. Things then melt away with "Lao Tsu On Han Gu Pass" throws out any sense of melody for pure atmosphere as any waves of thought drift away into mists of the Chinese highlands.
I'm a sucker for these long sound odysseys into the aether and this is one of the best I've come across this year. I can't say I know anything about the Chinese variety of bird people that these folks seem to be going for, but I read a groovy book about the Peruvian variety a few years back, so I'm keeping that in mind while listening. It was sort of a travelogue where the writer delved deeper and deeper into the Peruvian Amazon on a search for ayahuasca shamen who were disconnected from the civilized world. Here's a link for that one: Trail of Feathers
Oh, yes. And the music. That's here:
Bird People - 2013 - Water Buffalo