Review: Bird People + Waterflower – Split

YRU_H_XK9r6yUMiW96xS0KEB1v2TvwmI3eZ5FHQMCHoIn amongst the chimes of cymbals and the soft clang of singing bowls, I can hear Bird People rustling uncomfortably: knees shifting in readjustment, floorboards depressing and popping. Synth tones bore further into my head than feels comfortable, while accordions take the kind of curt breaths that prelude a panic attack. This is drone, but without the placidity and stillness that usually accompanies it. Instead this is a persistence of anxiety; like scrubbing dirt off with a sponge and scouring off layers of skin in the process, desperately craving a cleanliness that lies forever beyond reach. Violin notes stagger out of tune and bump into metal surfaces, like a Phill Niblock track performed on a boat that sways violently upon turbulent tides. The only point at which Bird People sound comfortable is when their restless limbs strike upon a stable tempo, aligning itself with the metronomic strums of the lute. For a fleeting moment, the floor stays level.

I transit into Waterflower and all of the tension turns to slack. Reverb smears the seams of piano and synthesiser, lapping up against my skin like warm bathwater. The melodies appear to sway between preconception and improvisation, tumbling fatefully through stretches of folk modality without the stiff forbidding of deviation or mistake, as Sabine Moore’s voice peels into separate strands that weave and chicane between chimes and eachother, occasionally slipping into delicate peals of laughter. Are these songs as such? Or are they the rippling reflections of songs, with rigid form submitted to the circumstantial flux of the water, guided as much by the reflex of sleep as by the active drive of consciousness? “Look at my face,” Moore requests with musical curiosity, stirring the sound around her into a soup. “Does it seem strange?”