Saturday, November 08, 2008

Birdsongs of the Mesozoic- prehistorical music from the 80's

From the ashes of Mission of Burma came a prog band but not just any prog band. Unlike many of the successful English variety in the 70's, this Beantown combo had a sense of humor to go along with their sense of history. Maybe it was just because he was concerned about his hearing (as the story goes) but maybe on some level, MOB guitarist/songwriter Roger Miller also wanted to delve more into chamber music than rock without giving up on the later. And oh yeah, keeping that sense of humor.

Miller and fellow MOB-er Martin Swope co-founded Birdsongs of The Mesozoic in the early 80's, staying with the local Ace of Hearts label. Unfortunately, their first few records remained E-Bay fodder though the band has still carried on since then, even with the loss of both Miller and Swope. A sterling, detailed account of their history is at PSF.

Luckily, Cuneiform Records, purveyor of fine archival prog (Soft Machine, Richard Pinhas, Univers Zero) are coming to the rescue by reissuing all of the early BOTM catalog including 2 EP's, their debut LP and extra, unreleased live material on the 2-CD set Dawn of the Cycads. Marvel not only at their knowledge of prehistoric nomenclature but also their covers of Stravinsky and theme from the Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoon. That's not even mentioning the Cluster-meets-Zappa-meets-Terry Riley sound of their original self-titled EP from '83 or the magnificent Reich-gone-metal riffing on "Shiny Golden Snakes from their first album, Magnetic Flip ('84). Not many prog ensembles have the breadth to cover those kind of wide bases but BOTM did, and still does actually.


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