Quinn Walker’s Dead Bird Sing is the sixteenth release in Hibernate’s consistently impressive Postcard Series. Each tiny CD-r is limited to just 100 copies, making them all massively collectable and – for goofs like me – especially covetable. The combination of slipcase, sparely designed postcard and unmarked white disc arouses something within me that shall forever be unfathomable to anyone other than my closest record-collecting buddies (most of whom write for this very site), but to the uninitiated it’s something akin to the feeling you get when you open a new book over your face and inhale deeply. Or is that just me as well?
As it happens, Quinn Walker’s first release for Hibernate is one of the most satisfying in the series so far. The six short pieces here are all based around gentle drones and tones, with additional glitches and knocks scattered throughout to add depth and resonance. Nothing imposes itself too heavily and the general air is sedate, soothing and uplifting. ‘II’ is probably the most atypical track on the record, being based around a series of electronic pulses and creaks that sound like new leather being worn-in, but — a shrill ring at the start of ‘IV’ aside — the music tends to wash across the listener and never really approaches anything like a crescendo.
Repeated listens will reap rewards. Going back through Dead Bird Sing will reveal further textures that were seemingly shy of discovery first time around. Now they emerge nervously like nocturnal animals at sundown. ‘V’, for example, crackles around the edges like burning papyrus and ‘III’ gives up myriad ticks and cracks when you seek beyond its harmonies. As the record nears its end strings are introduced, pianos play cautiously and eventually a guitar emerges from the haze to provide the only tenebrous tone across the six pieces. An ambiguous ambience on which to end maybe, but an intriguing one nonetheless
Steve Dewhurst (foxydigitalis.com
Consisting of six mostly short pieces, Quinn Walker’s ‘Dead Bird Sing’ is the latest in the post card series released through the ever consistent Hibernate Records…
With previous releases on labels such as Heat Death, Rural Colours and Audio Gourmet, you immediately get a sense of artistic growth and confidence from the artist’s work within this new project.
The album begins with a mid pitched drone which is shortly joined by a range of other pitches both high and low in frequency, whilst the background is filled with mechanical undertones. Restrained Violin structures then slowly blend into the piece offering up tranquil harmonies that perfectly set the scene for the rest of the album.
The second track brings with it a selection of glitchy electronic elements, as well as guitar structures that draw out the acoustics perfectly sounding somewhat similar to some of Autistici’s earlier work.
Things then slowly return to a more sedate mood consisting of soft drones, shifting harmonies and lightly distorted effects. This is the longest track on the disc running in at almost five minutes.
The fourth piece is based around a repeated melodic phrase played on piano creating rich atmospherics. The sound space is well saturated with a static chord sounding almost like tremolando strings.
In track five, the sound of a mid pitched horn is used to good effect, creating the illusion of distance while the more intimate dry compressed electric piano improvises right in the centre. As the track builds a sense of space is created that’s full of detail, drama and emotional resonance leaving enough space for listening reflection.
The last track starts in a far darker place harmonically and you are initially fooled into thinking this will last. In fact once the electric guitar makes its entrance it starts to resemble previous tracks more closely bringing with it a familiar feel before ending quite suddenly.
All in all this is a great piece of work on many levels and the quality of compositional skills that Quinn possesses blend well giving the album enough variety to sustain interest.
- Joe Evans for Fluid Radio
released 23 December 2011