Aug 2012 20

Birds of Passage & Leonardo Rosado - Dear and UnfamiliarBirds of Passage & Leonardo Rosado
Category: Experimental / Ambient
Album: Dear and Unfamiliar
Stars: 3
Blurb: Dear and Unfamiliar takes listeners through a musical landscape that is vast, beautiful and dreamlike, a sensuous epic that is worth savoring.


Under the name Birds of Passage, New Zealand musician Alicia Merz returns with her second album, Dear and Unfamiliar, a collaboration with Leonardo Rosado of Portugal. Fresh on the heels of her debut full-length album, Without the World, Merz again manages to impress. Dear and Unfamiliar was conceived as a cinematic album loosely based on the iconic Casablanca. Twisted through Rosado’s electronic sculpting and molded by Merz’s vocals, the album that emerges retains a thoughtful, experimental flavor while remaining accessible to a wide range of audiences.

From the start, it is clear that Merz’s vocals have an ethereal, dreamlike quality that is well complemented by Rosado’s electronic artistry. Never is it more captivating than on the opening title track. Simultaneously caressing and yearning, “Dear and Unfamiliar” draws the listener in, one sweetly sung note at a time. As if he were merely warming up, Rosado shines in the second half of the album, starting with “Of Your Charm.” The complexities and subtle notes of this song are easily missed, but for those who are patient, this song presents layers upon layers of intricately woven ambience. The percussion in “To Wander Slow with Me” is perfectly chosen and carefully woven between Merz’s lyrics to capture a sense of space and longing. “Endings and Beginnings” is the most curious song on the album. Its sometimes discordant piano combined with the eerily persistent, staccato bass line presents an unsettling end that leaves the listener wondering, “What next?” Indeed, the only downside of the album may be that lingering feeling of “Now what?” For fans of minimalism, this presents no problem, but casual fans may struggle to remain patient through the slower parts of the album.

Whether this collaboration proves to be a singular occurrence or the first of many to come, Dear and Unfamiliar proves itself to be an immensely pleasurable listening experience that combines the best of these two talented artists.
Track list:

  1. Dear and Unfamiliar
  2. Here’s Lookin’ at You, Kid
  3. You Wore Blue
  4. We’ll Always Have Paris
  5. A Kiss is Just a Kiss
  6. Of Your Charm
  7. To Wander Slow with Me
  8. Your Lulllabies
  9. I Wonder if You Sing It Now
  10. Endings and Beginnings

Birds of Passage Website
Birds of Passage MySpace
Birds of Passage Facebook
Birds of Passage Twitter
Birds of Passage SoundCloud
Leonardo Rosado MySpace
Leonardo Rosado Facebook
Leonardo Rosado Twitter
Denovali Records Website
Denovali Records Facebook
Denovali Records Twitter
Michelle Ly (MichelleLy)

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