* * * * * Birds Of Passage * * * * *

2012-04-11 12:26:10 UTC

Birds of Passage is the solo project from Waikato singer-songwriter and poet, Alicia Merz. Influenced by her memories, breathless-inspiring cold winds, the smell and atmosphere of a spring day, smoking cigarettes, sunshine, and shadows, Alicia takes her listeners on a minimalist journey that’s rich with mood and experimentation. Stripped of the over-produced veneer that can be a curse for other albums, Without The World creates a template that the listener can immerse themself into and find their own emotions to languidly drift away on.

I hear the cry Of their voices high Falling dreamily through the sky, But their forms I cannot see.

With Without The World, Merz reveals herself to be a master of the minimalist genre. Swinging between drone and lo-fi, the album’s tracks are quiet and comforting, yet possessive of a haunting disquiet that sends chills down the spine. No more than two or three instruments are used on a track, and are applied deftly like brushstrokes on the album’s canvas. A strummed acoustic guitar provides a simple lo-fi rhythm accompanying hushed lyrics before a low cello drone comes in to add emotional depth. Subtle and ambiguous samples from nature are included, casually leaving it up to the listener to decide whether they’re hearing waves crashing on a beach, or the lash of rain against a window during a storm.

With so few instruments on each track, Merz’s voice really comes to the foreground, showcasing her talent as a songwriter. Reflecting her work as a poet, her lyrics are delivered like stanzas; broken and measured. Dropping her lines over subtle backgrounds, she sings gently, sometimes faltering off into whispers. In an album this stripped and refined, it is clear that Merz’s voice is one of the album’s key instruments.

From their distant flight Through realms of light It falls into our world of night, With the murmuring sound of rhyme.

Other reviews have cited bleakness as the core characteristic of Without The World, but for me, the album brings to mind images of parts of the New Zealand landscape and how its nature is the backdrop to Merz’s days. From an autumn sunrise over a rocky beach to spring rain on a city street, the imagery evoked by this album adds atmosphere and authenticity to Merz’s delicate lyrics. With all the elements combined, the tracks provide an intimate look into her intense and private thoughts.

I always have doubts about New Zealand music; there’s usually some undefinable quality that doesn’t ring true for me. Saying that, this debut album from Birds of Passage easily breaks that trend for me. The subtle beauty of Without The World stunned me and left me wanting for more.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- And if you thought [ Ous Mal ] ~ [ Leonardo Rosado ] ~[ Grouper ] and the likes were THE ABSOLUTE dronology / ambientescape sound, wait till you hear [ Birds Of Passage ], it's way way beyond anything I've heard. They've got a split with [ I've Lost ] call "I Was All You Are" which can be purchased on BandCamp. I was listening to this split earlier this morning and man... I was totally caught between two worlds.

< < < < < [ [ MySpace ] | [ FaceBook ] | [ BandCamp ] ]. > > > > > --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Artist - Birds Of Passage Album - With Without The World [ * * * * * ] Release Date - 2011 Genre - Ambient, Minimal, Ambient, Ambientscape, Drone [ BRILLIANT ] Tracklist 01. you 00:56 download 02. scarlet monkeys 05:11 download 03. fantastic frown 04. pray for a sunny day 05. skeletons 06. the patterns on your face 04:14 download 07. all my lines 02:49 download 08. heal 04:30 download 09. whisper a word 10. my own mind 03:26 download 11. those blackest winter nights 12. alone and raw 05:16 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- BANDCAMP ~ Birds Of Passage - With Without The World DEPOSITFILE ~ Birds Of Passage - With Without The World -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Artist - Birds Of Passage Album - Winter Lady [ * * * * * ] Release Date - 2011 Genre - Ambient, Minimal, Ambient, Ambientscape, Drone [ BRILLIANT ] Tracklist 1. Fatal Melody 2. Highwaymen in Midnight Masks 08:34 download 3. Away With The Night 4. Disaster of Dreams 05:07 download 5. Hollow 6. The Monster Inside You 7. Waltz While We Sleep -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- BANDCAMP ~ Birds Of Passage - Winter Lady -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Artist - Birds Of Passage Album - Highwaymen in Midnight Masks [ * * * * * ] Release Date - 2011 Genre - Ambient, Minimal, Ambient, Ambientscape, Drone [ BRILLIANT ] Tracklist 1. Highwaymen in Midnight Masks 08:36 2. Forbidden Love 06:05 3. I Have My Heart -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- BANDCAMP ~ Birds Of Passage - Highwaymen in Midnight Masks -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Artist - Birds Of Passage & I've Lost Album - I Was All You Are [ * * * * * ] Release Date - 2011 Genre - Ambient, Minimal, Ambient, Ambientscape, Drone [ BRILLIANT ] Tracklist 1. I Was All You Are - birds of passage & I've Lost 14:13 2. Never Said Goodbye - I've Lost 07:02 3. Bullrush In The Sun - birds of passage 06:32 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MEDIAFIRE ~ Birds Of Passage & I've Lost - I Was All You Are BANDCAMP ~ Birds Of Passage & I've Lost - I Was All You Are -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Recommendations: Ichtyor Tides | A Wake A Week | Astrobrite | Nadja | Chris Rehm -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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