Review Various Artists – A Guide to the Birdsong of South America

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A whole host of incredible South American artists joined forces this spring to bring forth a record to commemorate and celebrate the beautiful birds that inhabit the continent. Ten groups were tasked with creating a piece that referenced, or directly quoted, a species from their country of origin. This project comes with added poignancy, too, since the money raised from the release is entirely going towards conservation work in Ecuador, to ensure the area is best equipped to protect the many endangered species that live there.

The album opener by Colombian-Argentine duo Lulacruza is inspired by the critically endangered Nicefero Wren; a stunning work to represent a stunning creature, blending wistful harmonies, a brooding synth bass, and iterations of birdsong to outstanding effect. This level of creative finesse is maintained throughout, and it serves as great credit to the work as whole, which successfully delivers in content, not just in its admirable concept. Chancha Via Circuito delivers yet more magic in his tribute to the Argentinian Macá Tobiano, and ZZK’s Barrio Lindo adds a digital cumbia lilt to his equally enthralling contribution.

The real treasure on this release, though, comes from Brazil’s Psilosamples. His dedication to both the Soldadinho d’Araripe and the Periquito Cara-Suja is a bold piece, and its execution is breath-taking, with more tempo changes and beat switch-ups than you’d find in a DJ battle. It’s laid-back feel, reminiscent of the late-great J Dilla, is interwoven with cascading flute samples, swung guitar lines, and all manner of zany sound effects; a fantastic contribution to a fantastic work.

Considering the album features ten different artists, it has a surprising level of coherence throughout, with each artist bringing their own flavour to the table. Whether it’s straight up house vibes from the inimitable Matanza, or the dank street beats of Dengue Dengue Dengue, the sounds of the birds are ever-present and the message of the release is always at the forefront. It’s a truly spectacular release, for a truly spectacular cause.

To support the record and the Ecuadorian Birding organisations Fundación Jocotoco and Aves y Conservación, you can buy the album (Digital Download/12” Vinyl) directly from the Rhythm and Roots Website.

Listen to the album below:


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