Tuesday, January 19, 2010

kingfisher blue

kingfisher blue
Originally uploaded by megan_n_smith_99

I guess it is no surprise that I love birds, because really I love all animals.* I admire birds from the view of an artist and from the view of a scientist. Right now I am listening to some music I wanted to mention - Shearwater's album Rook. Shearwater is based in Texas, but you'd never guess so. Their music does not invoke Texas for me- not what I thought Texas was. So I am pleased to have my opinion amended. **

Here is what Shearwater says about Rook on their website:

Rook is its own animal, at once more accessible (the near-title track, "Rooks", anchored by Thor Harris' thunderous kick drum, a booming organ, and a stately trumpet line, could almost be mistaken for radio-friendly) and more accomplished than its predecessor, with a depth and grandeur that seem improbably packed into the album's tidy 35 minutes. Squalls of feedback have largely given way to sudden gusts of strings and woodwinds, though the band's fondness for unusual instrumentation remains intact - harp, hammer dulcimer, and a curiously carved metal box all take featured roles. Each song is a mini-epic, from the in-medias-res opening of "On the Death of the Waters" to the pounding (but drumless) urgency of "Leviathan, Bound", the abrupt rock of "Century Eyes", the crystalline depths and heights of "I Was a Cloud" and "The Snow Leopard", and the final, elegant flourish of "The Hunter's Star". Rook is unlike any other album you'll hear this year. It has the clarity and yearning ineffability of a waking dream, the strange beauty and internal logic of a fairy tale, and above all, evokes a vanishing world that may or may not be our own.

One of the things I find so exciting about Shearwater too, is that Jonathan Meiburg, one of the founding members, is an Ornithologist (the study of birds). As you probably know if you've read my blog long, I love to combine my passions for art and science and am quite keen when I find other examples of the same. This album is beautiful artistically and also full of bird lore.

* recently I said to my mother and sister that I really, overall, liked animals better than people. My sister made no reply but my mother, after a moment of reflection, said she thought maybe she did too. Obviously there are notable exceptions.

** My most clear memory of Texas is a stretch of highway, strewn with the occasional tumbleweed. I remember being 7 years old, driving across the United States (ok i was not the one driving) and being figity, no doubt. my parents, hoping to distract me, said "look, Megan, we're in Texas!" and I said dramatically, "I've SEEN Texas." Well obviously I have not seen all of Texas. Not to mention any state that produces Ricë is ok by me.

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