Bird Show Lightning Ghost

Ben Vida is one of those sleepless artists who seems to be everywhere you turn, whether it be as a core member of minimalists Town and Country, playing languid country folk with his brother Adam in Central Falls or as a contributing member of Terminal 4 and Pillow. Bird Show is his own personal sandbox full of buried toys. As with his previous Kranky release, Green Inferno, he creates unstable spaces overlaying various traditions of world music (African, Middle Eastern, Oriental) atop of electric/electronic drones and then wedges in song structures wherever possible. The results are spectacular, from "Seeds,” which sounds like Konono #1 set free in Radio Shack and "Beautiful Spring,” to several pieces that resemble the trance-folk improvisations of Jackie-O Motherfucker or Sunburned Hand of the Man. While Inferno built up density beginning with a variety of field recordings Lightning Ghost creates its own context, one that is often much breathier despite a multiplicity of layers. An arsenal of percussive instruments such as mbira, qrareb and shakers encircle simple, single-note mantras issued as often by accordion and violin as laptop and synthesiser. Vida’s vocals are another element given more attention here, adding to the incantation or providing a melody. (Kranky)