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This is an incredible musician,from Chicago. All his records are awesome,but i suggest y'all to start with his last 2:


(Andrew Bird & the Mysterious Production of Eggs) 2005


(Armchair Apocrypha) 2007



[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iImZNKy1SA]YouTube - Andrew Bird - Episode # 01 - Imitosis[/ame]


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dJcr1brx_Y]YouTube - Andrew Bird - "Skin, Is My" - Live at Bonnaroo[/ame]


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLyQgBFl7mc]YouTube - Andrew Bird - Episode # 03 - Fiery Crash[/ame]


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MMxLFyw_gU]YouTube - Andrew Bird - Episode # 04 - Glass Figurine[/ame]

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Wow, Dejan, not being a complete ass hole for once. Ahem.



Yes Andrew Bird is delightful. I highly highly recommend Fingerlings 3 so that you can get a feel of the live show.



It's completely mesmerizing to listen to how he layers and whistles throughout all the songs.



Also he has a new album coming out soon! Noble Beast.

Pitchfork has a stream of a new song here called "Oh No".



It's pretty darn good!


Ok and let's litter the thread with Andrew Pics too.


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Damn it! I wrote a rather long post explaining the entire situation with barton and how you are an idiot, then the forum went and crashed and I don't have the desire to type it all out again


Also: Modals? Bartan?


WOAH! SORRY!, Don't kill me!

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Andrew Bird Discovers His Inner Operatic Folkie (Ny Times article)


Andrew Bird hates rehearsing. He counts on the sense of peril that he gets onstage — that feeling that everything can unravel in an instant — to keep him inside his music and prevent him from succumbing to self-doubt. So last month, when Bird was preparing to go on tour with his new backing band, he decided that instead of practicing the songs from his new album, “Noble Beast,” they would play two surprise shows at the Hideout, a working-class-bar-cum-indie-rock-haven in a deserted industrial neighborhood in his hometown, Chicago.


It was a ridiculously small venue for Bird. In September, he drew some 13,000 people to the open-air auditorium in Chicago’s Millennium Park. The Hideout’s official seating capacity is listed at 73, though a few hours before the doors opened one of the bar’s owners told me, only half-jokingly, that the actual number depends on who’s onstage. “When Andrew plays,” she said, “we can squeeze in a lot more because so many of them are skinny girls with glasses.” Word of the shows spread quickly; the Hideout had not even announced that Bird was going to be playing before the tickets were all gone.


These recent shows notwithstanding, Bird doesn’t perform that often in Chicago anymore: His manager and publicists don’t want his base to take him for granted. There seemed to be little risk of that on the frigid Monday night in mid-December when Bird, who is pencil-thin with messy dark hair and sharp, angular features, stepped onto the stage of the Hideout in a wrinkled blue Oxford shirt and a thrift-shop blazer and promptly started whistling mellifluously into a microphone. The crowd — plenty of skinny girls with glasses but also no shortage of unshaved young men in knit caps drinking Old Style beer in cans — was soon bobbing and swaying to Bird’s quirky, soulful melodies.


Onstage, Bird was engaged in something of a musical high-wire act, whistling, singing and manically shifting from violin to guitar to glockenspiel. All the while, his feet were busy working the pedals of an electronic looping station that recorded and then played back his musical progressions in short intervals. He layered one musical passage on top of another, gradually nudging each song toward its crescendo.


Bird’s sound is not easy to categorize. His songs are swelling and orchestral, the legacy of years spent studying classical violin at Northwestern University’s prestigious conservatory and elsewhere. He has been compared with the Irish rock singer Damien Rice, but Bird’s sound is also distinctly American, part of a new wave of folk — free folk, psych folk or freak folk, as it has variously been called — that has grown in popularity in recent years. His songs have a pastoral, homespun feel, but they also have a darkness and emotional complexity not typically associated with folk rock.


The Hideout shows represented a sort of special sendoff for Bird. Tours are nothing new for him, but most of the audience understood that this one was going to be different. Bird’s label, Fat Possum, is expecting “Noble Beast” to be his breakthrough album, to transform him from cult phenomenon to pop star. The CD won’t be released until Jan. 20, but an early and aggressive marketing push is already paying off in commitments from a few major retail chains, airtime on several influential rock radio stations and an offer to appear on “Late Show With David Letterman.”


Bird has made seven albums on three different labels, and pressed numerous live EPs himself, but he has never had this kind of promotional support behind him. An executive at one of his previous labels once told Bird that he had to stop riding around towns on his bike and putting up posters and start acting like a rock star. “My reaction was, ‘Are you kidding me?’ ” Bird recalls. “ ‘That’s your marketing plan? Me sitting around and acting like a rock star?’ ”


At 35, Bird has spent almost 15 years working relentlessly for the sort of exposure he now seems poised to enjoy. “Six years ago, when I was still struggling, I just wanted to go anywhere in the world and play for 300 people,” he says.


And yet when I first met Bird a couple of weeks before the Hideout show, he didn’t have the air of an underappreciated artist finally about to be given his due. On the contrary, he seemed worried about losing control over a career that he is accustomed to micromanaging. He wondered, for instance, if “Noble Beast” was perhaps being promoted too aggressively. Bird’s publicist had wanted him to play one of the first shows on his coming tour at Radio City Music Hall (capacity: 6,000). Bird was concerned that it was too big a venue, that he might fail to make a connection with the audience and that things could easily spiral downward from there. They compromised on Carnegie Hall, which seats about 3,000.


“A lot of bands get hyped and go from playing for no one to playing for thousands of people, most of whom are standing there with their arms folded saying, ‘O.K., are you really as good as everyone says you are?’ ” Bird told me. “I’ve never had to deal with that. I’ve gotten here by winning one person at a time.”


BIRD GREW UP IN the northern suburbs of Chicago. His mother, an artist, had visions of all of her children playing classical music, but Bird, the second-youngest of four, was the only one who took to it. He began violin lessons at age 4, using the Suzuki method, which stresses learning by ear.


In high school, while Bird’s friends were listening to the Smiths and the Cure, he was listening to Mozart’s Requiem. At Northwestern, though, he began to chafe against his classical training. Bird resented the conservatory’s self-gratifying ethos, the prevailing view that the headier the piece of music the better, even if it alienated the audience. He wanted to improvise rather than play written notes. “There is something comforting about going into a practice room, putting your sheet music on a stand and playing Bach over and over again,” he told me one night at a hipster dive bar in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. “But at the same time, it’s not demanding much of you.”


Bird moved to Chicago after graduation. He was intent on making his living playing the violin, but he had no desire to audition for classical orchestras. He cobbled together a modest living performing anywhere he could — weddings, funerals, Irish pubs, even a weekend Renaissance fair in Wisconsin.


Musically, Bird remained something of a misfit. He had lost interest in classical concertos, but he couldn’t relate to the stark, self-consciously simplistic sound of the post-punk scene that flourished in Chicago in the 1990s. Bird turned elsewhere for inspiration, greedily soaking up a dizzying array of musical genres, from Gypsy to calypso to swing to folk to the so-called hot jazz of the Roaring Twenties. “I was on a binge for four or five years, just devouring everything I could get my hands on,” he told me.


In his early 20s, Bird got the break that every aspiring musician hopes for: a young executive at Rykodisc, Andrea Troolin, dug his demo out of the slush pile and offered him a record contract. Bird organized a band — Andrew Bird’s Bowl of Fire — to back him, and they drove down to New Orleans to record their first album, “Thrills,” in five adrenaline-fueled days. They had a tiny budget, and Bird, who was obsessed with early American jazz at the time, insisted that they make the record the old-fashioned way — with everyone gathered around a single ribbon microphone, playing each song until they got it right, however late into the night they had to work.


Bird recorded two more albums with the Bowl of Fire. It can be hard to tell, listening to those records, that they are the work of the same artist who made “Noble Beast.” The songs zigzag wildly across Bird’s eclectic record collection. His subtle, lilting voice is rendered almost unrecognizable as he channels everything from raspy bluesmen to Berlin cabaret singers.


None of the Bowl of Fire’s records sold. The band’s tours became increasingly depressing affairs. “We’d roll into town, and there would be no posters advertising our show and no radio stations playing our songs,” Bird told me. “Forty people would show up, and we’d get paid $500, if we were lucky.”


In the winter of 2002, with his career going nowhere, Bird decided to change his surroundings. He gave up his small apartment in the city and moved into a barn on his family’s farm in rural Illinois. During his self-imposed exile, Bird came back to Chicago one night to open up for a local folk band, the Handsome Family, at an old Irish dance hall. The rest of the Bowl of Fire wasn’t available, so Bird reluctantly agreed to play alone. In addition to his violin, he brought with him a looping station that he’d been fooling around with on the farm. For the first time, he tried whistling onstage, an act of desperation to keep the audience entertained. “I was worried they were all thinking: Where’s the band?” Bird recalls.


The show went surprisingly well, and Bird, encouraged by the response, decided to go out on his own. Within a matter of months, he was recording his first solo album, “Weather Systems,” and was soon back out on the road, this time with only his violin and his looping station. He played as many shows as he could, often opening for bigger artists like Ani DiFranco. “They were guerrilla attacks,” Bird says. “I would play for 30 minutes for 2,000 people, none of whom knew who I was.” After each performance, he would race out to the lobby to man his own merchandise table, filling his pockets with the cash from CDs that he bought at a discount from his label. Then he’d get in his van, drive off to another town and do it all over again.


Bird’s second solo album, “The Mysterious Production of Eggs,” released in 2005, garnered critical praise — including an 8.3 out of 10 rating on the music-criticism Web site Pitchfork, a powerful taste-maker in the indie-rock world — and became a modest sleeper success as word of mouth spread. Bird gradually built a following, while at the same time honing his sound. “In his first couple of albums, you can hear a lot of his influences,” says Troolin, who left Rykodisc many years ago but has continued working with Bird as his manager. “I think it was a matter of him getting that out of his system in some ways and figuring out what an Andrew Bird song sounds like.”


ONE DAY IN CHICAGO, I went with Bird to test out the new speakers he’ll be using on his “Noble Beast” tour. He is going to be touring with a full band — a drummer, a guitarist and a bass player — and he wanted to make sure his violin wasn’t going to be drowned out by the rest of the ensemble.


Bird, who plays upward of 200 shows a year, was in the midst of a rare stretch of uninterrupted down time at home. His tours are exhausting. The shows are physically demanding, the rhythm of performing emotionally destabilizing. “There’s this huge outpouring of energy, and if you’re lucky a catharsis, but then there’s this big gaping hole when you’re done,” he told me.


But slowing down and re-entering reality was proving to be even more difficult for him. Bird is something of a loner. When he’s not on tour, he spends much of his time by himself in the barn on his family’s farm, where he does most of his writing and composing. Being back home, bumping into old friends whom he hadn’t talked to in months, was reminding him of what he gave up to play music. He was feeling, as he put it, “a little bit like a ghost in my own town.” Bird’s life in Chicago seemed particularly tenuous to him at the moment; he had just come off a difficult breakup and was living for the time being with his brother.


In a music workshop in the neighborhood of Humboldt Park, Bird plugged his violin into his looping station, his looping station into his amplifiers and his amplifiers into two eight-foot-tall fiberglass speakers shaped like horns. (Imagine the familiar Victrola phonograph icon, reinterpreted by Lewis Carroll.) The sun slanted through a giant wall of windows; outside, the streets were covered in a light dusting of snow.


In conversation, Bird is earnest and soft-spoken, so it was more than a little startling when he suddenly and almost violently thrust his bow across his violin a few times, producing what could have been the opening of a Mozart composition. “The first notes I still play when I start a sound check are classical,” he said. “Those are my roots.”


Compositionally, Bird takes simple melodies and gradually extends them into complex arrangements. These melodies pop into his head unannounced. The way it usually works, he will suddenly find himself whistling a new one — Bird is constantly whistling — or even chewing his food to it. He never records melodies or even writes them down. He assumes that if they’re worth remembering, he’ll remember them. The longer they remain lodged in his head, the more likely it is that they will eventually be fashioned into a song. “It’s like I’m my own Top 40 radio station, playing the things that get under my skin,” Bird says. “The ones that really stick are the hits.”


Bird’s approach to songwriting is similarly intuitive and impressionistic. Often, a word or phrase will catch his eye for no apparent reason. Or he might hear a sound — the creaking of a door, the wailing of an infant — or experience a feeling that he’ll want to match to words. He is more interested in how the words in his lyrics sound, in the mood they create and sense they relate, than in their literal meaning.


Bird is essentially inverting the typical songwriting process. The classic singer-songwriter sits down with a notebook to write a song about something. Bird assembles his songs out of his mental collection of resonant words and phrases. So even when the subject of a song is conventional, the lyrics aren’t. Take, for instance, “Not a Robot, But a Ghost,” on “Noble Beast.” It’s a breakup song, anchored in the disconnected feeling Bird experienced after the end of his most recent relationship — or more specifically, how he felt when he heard a powerful piece of music while in the throes of that post-breakup funk: having been moved by the music, he no longer felt like a robot, but he still felt like a ghost.


Recording is a miserable process for Bird. He frets about sounding too careful, about not being at his best without an audience to engage and impress. To preserve a sense of spontaneity, he never goes into the studio with finished songs. He eats lunch standing up and works 15 hours a day — “until I’m just stupid and in a daze” — so that he won’t have time to question everything he’s doing. He produces his own albums and is often displeased with what he hears; he twice scrapped “The Mysterious Production of Eggs” in its entirety.


Bird approached “Noble Beast” a bit differently. He was determined not to labor endlessly over it, beginning the studio work last spring in Nashville and finishing it this fall in Chicago. Bird’s ambitions and talents can send him in a lot of different directions. His last album, “Armchair Apocrypha,” is sprawling, “erratic and ecstatic,” as Bird puts it. On “Noble Beast,” he worked hard not to let himself get carried away, to keep his songs as simple and direct as possible. He wanted the record to be characterized not by the countless peaks and valleys of his live perform­ances but by a single, unifying palette. Having spent much of his career deliberately avoiding repetition, Bird cautiously embraced it on “Noble Beast.” The result is a focused record with a couple of genuinely catchy pop songs.


Fat Possum’s hopes are high. The label is expecting “Noble Beast” to sell at least 25,000 copies during its first week, more than twice what “Armchair Apocrypha,” Bird’s biggest record to date, sold when it made its debut.


Bird’s trajectory, his gradual climb to success, is unusual for a business in which careers tend to be made on the back of a big break. But his increasing popularity may also say something broader about the shifting dynamics of the industry. The rock-music business has long been dominated by major labels following a simple formula: They saw what bands were selling and looked for others that sounded just like them. And because these same labels held what often seemed like exclusive access to the key retailers and influential radio stations, it was difficult for independent record companies and more inventive, esoteric artists to find traction in the general public. But with the precipitous drop in record sales, the major labels have lost much of their leverage, and with it, their ability to determine what records will become popular. “Andrew is worried that if he goes too mainstream, he’s going to offend his hard-core fans,” says Steve Martin, one of Bird’s publicists. “I told him that mainstream no longer exists.”


As the sun was setting, Bird improvised a song based on a melody that had been in his head for a couple of weeks. He began by plucking out a rhythm on his violin. Once he had started the melody looping, he set the violin on his shoulder and started scraping the bow across the strings, his eyes squinting shut as he entered the thrall of the music. He tapped the foot pedal once more and delivered a sustained, almost eerie whistle into a small microphone wedged into the tailbone of his violin. The room gradually filled with sound as he constructed a song, bit by 15-second bit. Then, with one more click of the pedal, silence was suddenly restored. Bird opened his eyes. “I can gratify myself for hours with this setup,” he said.

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Latest Andrew Bird's blog from Ny Times


‘Hot Math’

As I write this I’m listening to the first track from “Useless Creatures,” a new instrumental record I am working on that’s now ready to be mastered.


The song is called “Master Sigh.” Some head-voice singing and whistling through a looping pedal merged with ambient loops made at my barn. It’s wordless, drumless and fluid — a “sonic Jacuzzi” (I had a music history professor in college who snarled at us freshman for listening to music as if it were some “sonic Jacuzzi.”) Despite my years of trying to make a living at music, thankfully that Jacuzzi hasn’t been drained of its hot, frothy, swirling, soothing power.


The main record in this project, “Noble Beast,” is finished and mastered and ready for consumption January 20. It includes “Natural Disaster” (the song that began with the trip to the Natural History museum) and “Oh No” (the song I chronicled from idea to completion in my previous posts). [Editor's note: Listen to the audio clips at right to hear how "Oh No" progressed.] This instrumental companion record is something I’ve be been meaning to make for years. The title self-mockingly alludes to my uneasiness about the usefulness of instrumental music. Like some heirloom chicken that stumbles over its own plumage or a pug struggling to breathe or a hairless cat, bred for aesthetics … Not that such creatures are useless. They’re cute as hell, but sort of beg the question. Who’s to say a creature is noble? Anyway.


So of course I don’t consider instrumental music useless. It’s good to remind myself when I’m having a crisis of purpose and feeling useless that at least I can make something beautiful.


The piece on “Useless Creatures” I’m most excited about is called “The Barn Tapes.” Three summers ago I had an engineer friend come out to my barn in western Illinois with an old quarter-inch tape machine. We opened all the doors and windows, hooked up my violin to six amps placed throughout the barn, put microphones inside and out and made four hours of ambient loops. They are static in the sense that almost every note in the scale is in each loop and there is almost no forward motion, just this swirling mass of sound. This creates a sense of time slowing down. So I made a loop for every note in the 12-tone scale, major and minor, with the goal of assigning each to a key on a keyboard, creating a new instrument. I’ve always loved the sound of a tape machine slowing down or speeding up as it creates a satisfying bend or warble to the note — much like that sound in an old film when the projector falters a bit.


We never made a keyboard but instead transferred the 24 loops to 2-inch 24-track tape and then played it back through an old Neve console and “performed” the mix with the faders, using both hands and occasionally my nose to crossfade between loops. The pitch manipulation happened at random because the tape stock we used was 15 years old and warbled quite a bit. We also used the vari-speed function on the tape machine to slide between keys. The result is 10 minutes and 30 seconds of cumulous clouds of sound with sparrows and crickets and cicadas swelling with the faders. I hear those summer storms coming over the Mississippi or passing north over Wisconsin in mid-August. I’ve included a link to a home video made by Xan Aranda during one session with Dan Dietrich engineering.


There’s another track called “Hot Math” — a lo-fi recording I made myself in my barn. It’s an example of a West African polyrhythmic groove I’ve been into for years and in this case I was clearly enjoying myself. This is elusive stuff. It just doesn’t work by choreography; you just have to be in the right mood. It goes on for seven minutes and I intended to shorten it but it just feels too good; besides this is my “indulgent” record.


We mixed all this in Los Angeles at Bob Clearmountain’s studio with David Boucher, with whom I made “The Mysterious Production of Eggs.” He is tireless and steady and always pushing me to do better.


Some of this record consists of “jamming” — like “Hot Math” — while some is through-composed — though none of it is written down. “The Carrion Suite” is a four-part piece with Todd Sickafooose playing bass and Glenn Kotche playing drums. We ran through it twice and went for it. It’s the most classical sounding of all the tracks. It’s a collection of all the ideas that come out of me when I’m warming up at sound check. A little Dvorak mixed with gypsy-Nuyorican jazz and Afro-Cuban Bach….


Sometimes writing a pop song almost seems like a noble pursuit, perhaps because there’s such restraint involved resisting the urge to wail or cut loose and “shred.” This may be one reason why I chose to call the “song” record “Noble Beast.” When I start writing and recording a record I try to make sure that the songs I write don’t get in the way of making music. So there’s a dance between words and music and it seems to help having a companion project like this to diffuse the tension between the two.


Next time: Did writing these posts for Measure for Measure while I was writing and recording my record end up affecting the songs themselves?

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My friend just got me into Andrew Bird and I'm just STUNNED at how fascinating and fun his music is... "Noble Beast" is a fantastic album. "Fitz and Dizzy Spells" especially makes me dance... he's great!


Awesome to see people on here talking about him!

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