'This ep sounds like the culmination of Coil and My Bloody Valentine collaborating via some third unknown supernatural force.'
'The English Channel must generate a mighty fog, because Lawry Joseph Tilbury's been lost in it for years. Luckily he brought along a dusty four-track, some lost children, a nylon guitar, and an analogue synth or two (maybe he pulled a red wagon behind?). This 12" EP—served up on the heaviest vinyl I've held betwixt me fingers—starts off as unassuming folktronica, nice but not drop-your-jaw-and-slap-your-cheek, before diving headlong into psych stew experiments, circus noise tape collage, and keyboard drone dirge.
Largely beatless, this EP certainly doesn't step on Dan Snaith's or Keiran Hebdan's toes, eschewing the entirety of folktronica clichés. Still the tag feels proper in part, for the sweetheart-done-gone melodies and dusty bucolia suffusing the tracks. Acid folk is a more useful referent: Comus deconstructed and tied back together with bent circuits. Making this, dare I say, the first relevant work of…freak-folktronica.'
'As a child, Lawry Joseph Tilbury stole into the forests surrounding his home and, using a broken nylon guitar, a record player, and a couple of scratchy records, created ramshackle serenades to the woodland creatures and the moon. Though today an adult living in Brighton, he's never lost that idiosyncratic sensibility and now, rejecting computers and digital gear for the tape cassette, records under the name Birdengine using a 4-track recorder, Dictaphones, home-made tape loops, and music boxes. What results are creaky compositions realized with decrepit instrumentation and steeped in scratchy hiss and rust, not so much from some other universe but from some other era. Still, the first thing one notices about this 12-inch-only release is the vinyl itself, a slab so thick it could repel cannon fire, though the focus shifts immediately the moment his surreal collages of mechanical noises and dusty keyboards rise like ghosts from the grooves.
"Headache (Days 3, 7 and 9)" perhaps best exemplifies his sound, with melismatic acoustic whorls coalescing into wavering melancholia. The dirge-like "She Needs More Memory" veers closest to a traditional electronic style with a weave of high-pitched melodies and guttural tones underlaid by curdling beats. The three remaining pieces pursue a more collage-oriented approach, with what sounds like a chainsaw roaring alongside minimal piano sprinkles in "What I Do Is Secret." Carnival melodies rub shoulders with noisy blasts in "Let There Be Rope Tied Around Their Middles" while "Thoughts of a Falling Glass Man" combines hydraulic clanks, rapidly picked strings, and woozy orchestral samples in strange manner. Those looking for kindred spirits might imagine Birdengine as an eccentric third cousin to The Brothers Quay who likewise embrace a refreshingly ancient-modern coupling in films like Street of Crocodiles and Institute Benjamenta.
(Speaking of visual imagery, a remarkable animated video of 'Thoughts of a Falling Glass Man' produced by Sherbet using considerably more current production methods, is available for viewing at the Benbecula site.)'
"This is my favourite Benbecula release so far"
'It's wonderful what can be done with some old tapes, a 4-track, and a bit of imagination. When that imagination is as waywardly creative as Mr Birdengine's we end up with five tracks such as these and everyone's a winner. Weird? Mm, yes. A hit? No regrettably not probably. But very good? Oh yes, and that's underselling it by quite a bit I'd venture. Thank goodness for people like Birdengine and Benbecula.'
Robots And Electronic Brains
Birdengine is the musical project of Lawry Joseph Tilbury, whose unique music has been described by The Independent as 'beautiful, backwards weirdness' and by WARP Records as “an unknown supernatural force".