Sift through the meticulous digital grit that cakes Pretty Bird‘s hypnotic HOUSE and you’ll discover a caustic din of future–pop that resembles the damaged noise and artful dance collages of Brooklyn in the early 2000s. As the most left-field project of the Birdhouse Collection, Athens’ art and music hub for satellite noise and experimental projects including Muuy Biien, Velocirapture and k i d s, Pretty Bird displays surprising cohesion in the frantic, schizophrenic sounds throughout the 22 tracks here. The overall effect is an exercise in quality over quantity though, with no track surpassing the two-minute mark, and many cutting out at 40-odd seconds.
The tags attached to the Bandcamp page for HOUSE range from hip hop and pop to noise, experimental and psychedelic. These song fragments are arguably “pop,” with ugly shots of gleeful expression and primitive melodies that are naturally hummable. There’s no real trace of recognizable hip hop, aside from an essence interpreted by the band. As the band explained, “Hip-hop is an easy way to be confident in saying something ridiculous… Hip-hop artists say some pretty ridiculous shit, and people rarely question it.” With this self-assured confidence, Pretty Bird creates an aural monologue of surreal noise, percussive imagery and collaged color. (Then again, maybe those tags were just the result of a “required” field.)
HOUSE is outsider music. Songs like “Phone Mome,” “Every Body Hear” and “What I Z” revel in a stream of (un)consciousness that resembles Excepter’s darkly sinister, synthetic art-pop. “Glass House” and “20 2” take the cavernous, screwed dance vibes of mid-era Black Dice while downplaying the theatrics. “Come (Make You)” and “Our House (takes)” most resemble actual “songs” here, but retain a subversive darkness similar to Clipd Beaks’ post-apocalyptic noir. As a whole HOUSE is a blitzed overview of Athens’ expansive experimental scene. 4 out of 5.
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