Bird Show

Formed as a solo outlet for Town and Country guitarist Ben Vida, Bird Show became the Chicago musician's primary outlet upon Town and Country's split. Walking the line between musique concrète and psychedelic sound collage, with the occasional song form thrown in, Vida's home-recorded Bird Show releases were consistently adventurous. Using Bird Show as a platform for invention, Vida created immersive electro-acoustic scenes, mixing field recordings with a wide range of instruments, including Moroccan castanets, mbira, organ, violin, and accordion. On 2005's Green Inferno, he featured recordings from Tokyo and Puerto Rico, such that birds and cityscapes mixed with his colorfully and cleverly droning constructions. Propulsion took center stage on 2006's Lightning Ghost, songs coming alive with churning mbira and handclaps. With 2008's self-titled release, featuring collaborations with former Chicagoan (and electro-acoustic comrade) Greg Davis, Vida introduced an important new element into his work: the Moog. Beneath the usual array of colorful instrumentation -- including Vietnamese jaw harp, wood flute, elephant bells, and zither -- there were now firmer structures driven by Vida's keyboard patterns. These were more fully realized on 2010's Bird Show Band LP, featuring a full quartet behind Vida, including Tortoise drummers John Herndon and Dan Bitney, an indication of the project's future. ~ Jesse Jarnow

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