Review: Anthony Osborne – The Language of the Birds (MuteAnt Sounds, Jan 15)

If this is the language of birds, I really do not want to know what those evil little fuckers are talking about.

The Language of the Birds is the newest album from London-based saxophonist Anthony Osborne, best known to me for his James Joyce inspired works such as Wakeschrift and Ofter the Fall, and sees the composer and improviser expanding his unique language of industrial-strength horn skronk, heavy electronics, and oppressive atmosphere. Despite the album’s relatively nondescript cover art, there’s a whole hell of a lot going on here; the tracks ebb and flow with all the easygoing naturality of well-composed electroacoustic pieces, but noise still bursts through the murk when Osborne attacks his saxophone, often completely without warning. The electronic elements harmonize with the furious flurries at some points, and are at odds with them at others. Both sometimes occur on the same track, as is the case with “But Ronald, Why Are You Laughing?,” which nearly collapses at the forceful entry of a particularly grating burst of sax, but the elements soon assimilate and flow to an organic conclusion. The Language of the Birds makes amazing use of a very unique sonic palette, at once harsh and calming, fractured and undeniably complete.