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NO BIRD SING "Definition Sickness" LP out now.
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Joined: 26 Jul 2004
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City Pages did a really nice feature on NBS where they talk about the writing and recording process:

http://www.citypages.com/2013-11-13/music/no-bird-sing-find-beauty-in-darkness/
Post Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:20 pm
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New review from Stepdad Mag:
http://stepdadmag.com/nobird.html

“Definition Sickness” by No Bird Sing
Written by Bruce King

It’s clear that No Bird Sing’s approach to Hip Hop is their own. Usually rap groups consist of a single producer and multiple rappers. Its rare to see the equation so directly inverted. Additionally for all the producers to utilize guitars and drums is something of a rarity. Full band Hip Hop has tended to err on the side of jazzier infusion. With Joe Horton (vocals, occasional keys), Robert Mulrennan (guitar/production), and Graham O’Brien (drums/production) NBS incorporates both modern techniques of creating robust soundscapes as well as traditional forms of percussive instrumentation. The general aesthetic is moody rhymes over etherial backgrounds. Fans of Kno (of Cunninglynguists) “Death is Silent” record of a few years back will be right at home.

The lead single “And War” is a prime example of this dreamy aesthetic. The accompanying video was something out of David Lynch’s short-film catalog, and it fits the music all too well. There are variations from one track to the next, thought they all walk an interesting line between ambient and confrontational. The beat and progression on “Boomday” with Crescent Moon is a track that can’t be described as anything less than ominous. It loosely reminds me of Ultra era Depeche Mode. The biggest departure from the record’s intellection is probably “Breathless” which they choose to lead off the record with. It almost seems to be more of beat era inspired spoken word piece which isn’t quite representative of what can be expected of the rest of the record, but manages to still somehow fit.
There’s a heavy existential philosophical slant to Horton’s lyrical content which grants an intellectual depth to an already complex aesthetic. “What is it you’re looking for? Better hope you never find it because a lion with no prey is not a lion” It’s clear that he spends most of his free time exploring his own reason. From the postings on the groups FB page it’s clear that these are not simple ideas thrown out without consideration to their meaning. They list 'Existentialism and Human Emotions' by Jean-Paul Sartre and 'Welcome to the Monkey House' by Kurt Vonnegut as books currently on their nightstand. There’s plenty to love about this record; a wealth of guest spots (Kristoff Krane, Sage Francis, Sadistik, etc.), lush production, and a chance to glance inside the mind of a clearly thoughtful individual. However the payoff here is integrated experience the music of No Bird Sing offers. Cop this and listen to it with a somber open mind.
Post Sun Dec 22, 2013 9:57 pm
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ALARM PRESS lists "Definition Sickness" as one of the 51 favorite albums of 2013:
http://alarm-magazine.com/2014/alarms-51-favorite-albums-of-2013/

"No Bird Sing is the brainchild of rapper Joe Horton, guitarist Robert Mulrennan, and drummer Graham O’Brien. Going from a live-band aesthetic to a more production-heavy recorded model has the potential to alienate fans, but No Bird Sing’s Definition Sickness is a dark pleasure. With a voice that recalls a more disillusioned Aesop Rock (if such a thing is possible), Horton raps over droning guitar and organic beats — the traditional instrumentation not competing with electronic production but rising to the top.

The album will evoke different things in different listeners. You may hear heaviness, drone, ambient techno, or modern indie rock, all lovingly filtered through the lens of hip hop. There’s no telling which interpretation is correct, but the end result is a nice fourth-quarter surprise, one of the best rap albums of the year."
- Lincoln Eddy
Post Thu Jan 02, 2014 7:32 pm
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