Organ Thing of The day: Back from Upfest, back in the saddle yet again, here we go. Total utter no messing real deal San Diego progheads Birth have just announced details of their debut album. The Southern California psychedelic/progressive rock outfit will release their much anticipated full-length debut LP, ‘Born’, on July 15, this is of course very good news indeed. That now deleted three track EP the San ieg oband released back in June of last year had us needing more. You can only hear one rather meaty nine minute track right now, it does seem a little restrained by the standards they’ve set so far, they have set high standards though, as mellow as ii is, this first Melotron-drenched taste of what’s to come is rather exciting. We expect to be featuring the debut album as much as we played the debut EP on the Other Rock Show in the coming months…
“Featuring members of San Diego’s revered retro rockers Astra, along with current or former members of Joy, Radio Moscow, and Sacri Monti, Birth owns a cavernous cache of credibility rarely found in developing musical groups. Described as “a magic-eye journey into kaleidoscopic sound“, and “a dystopian take on the here and now” the group deliver a blast of vibrant progressive rock rich in cinematic scope and psychedelic intensity”
“Featuring guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Conor Riley and lead guitarist Brian Ellis, musicians who burst onto the prog-psych scene in the late aughts with Astra, a formidable, foundational group hailed as “prog goliaths” (AllMusic) who would shape the sound of things to come alongside co-conspirators such as Earthless, Diagonal and Dungen, and whose albums ‘The Weirding’ (“a sublime debut that evokes various ’70s colossi – panoramic Pink Floyd, mellotron-era King Crimson, Black Sabbath in philosophical mode – without ever stooping to pastiche….” – Mojo) and ‘The Black Chord’ (“at a time when there’s so much creativity within the prog community, Astra have taken a giant leap forward…The Black Chord is dauntingly brilliant.” – PROG) stand proud as two of the greatest progressive achievements of this century thus far, there is a palatable excitement surrounding Birth and the group has been pegged as one to watch in underground circles”.
“Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a torrent of light into our dark world”
So wrote Mary Shelley in Frankenstein, arguably the first science fiction tale. A full 204 years later, the quest remains – how best to elucidate our daily lives with some form of inspiration that moves the spirit beyond its earthly shackles?
On ‘Born‘, Birth musically and creatively constructs a science-fiction-inspired sound-world in which bleak tumult and skybound rapture co-exist. The result is an intoxicating album haunted by earthly concerns while its sonics aim simultaneously for the stars. “I’m a scientist by trade and I read a lot of dystopian sci-fi, which I believe is relevant to many of the events that have been occurring lately,” notes Riley. “These views feed a dark, spiritual and mystical relationship that I have with scientific thought”.
Far from the trappings of retro chic and fashion-aligned classicism, the five celestial serenades which make up ‘Born‘ stake their claim in a different headspace to most other exponents of the form. Certainly, it’s true that many of the audial shapes manifesting themselves here – the exploratory jazz-rock diversions, Mellotron and Hammond-abetted textures and the rich melancholia of the song-writing – may recall moments from progressive rock’s past and the listener may be forgiven for losing themselves in a gatefold-sleeved reverie. Nonetheless, this is a band which was thrown into life via the constrictions and temporal shifts of a global pandemic, as well as one which has largely set about chronicling a reality in which the surrounding world appears to be hurrying its own demise.
Previously on these pages
Meanwhile if you haven’t had time to check out last weekend’s Other Rock Show yet, then here it is…