DFT003 // 7 TRACK MINI-ALBUM CD // 2007
WAX SEALED PRINTED ENVELOPE RELEASED ON DRIFT RECORDS
CD SOLD OUT // DOWNLOAD HERE
Recorded on 4-Track Tape Cassette in Brighton and Dorset
'There's not likely to be a more arresting opening couplet to an album this year that "I spent the summer cutting heads off dogs/I spent the winter trying to sew them back on", which announces the arrival of singer-songwriter Lawry Joseph Tilbury, aka Birdengine, as a new voice on the folk scene. Tilbury displays the same quiet understatement and backwards weirdness as Bonnie 'prince' Billy, but transposed to Dorset. Listening to I fed Three Rabbit Water is like visiting a museum of curiosities packed with shelves of malformed foetuses and two-headed dogs pickled in jars; the songs are full of rustic-mythic weirdness, with Tilbury singing about dead mermaids, feral children, "beast folk" and sewing his eyelids shut, his voice little more than a murmur on tracks such as 'The Evil twin" and "you Gave Birth To A Horse", while his arrangements rarely stray beyond gently plucked guitar and ambient noise. There's something sinister in his woodshed – and you ain't form 'round these parts, are you?'
Andy Gill, The Independent
'Introspective Dorset folky chap tells us "I Fed Thee Rabbit Water". Like the Fife-based Fence Collective, the loose Drift Collective from the West Country and Brighton are friends who make music for themselves before audiences - and it particularly shows on this strung-out, rareified acoustic gem from Lawry Joseph Tilbury aka Birdengine. A perfect counterpoint to labelmate 30 Pound Of Bone's raucous pub-friendly shanties, Tilbury's music has the nervy pastoral
loneliness of immediately post-Barrett Floyd (think *Cirrus Minor* and *Julia Dream* from *Relics*), relishing every scrape of fingers on acoustic strings, every rough edge of cracking voice. The intimate detail of sound - recorded entirely on 4-track cassette - is a reminder of how much of an intrusion digital meddling with music can be; the birdsong on *The Evil Twin* sounds as far from affectation as it could be. There's a witchy weirdness to this all - titles like *You Gave Birth To A Horse* give that away - but it's a very beautiful record.'
Joe Muggs, Word Magazine
'Hailing from the rolling hills of Dorset Birdengine aka Lawry Joseph Tilbury is soon to become a one man revolution in folk. Shunning digital techniques the whole of his debut LP for Devonshire collective Drift, 'I Fed Thee Rabbit Water', exposes a major talent yet to be uncovered and was entirely self recorded on a four track tape recorder, aided only by a Dictaphone.
7 tracks deep 'I Fed Thee…' is a 25 minute pastoral masterpiece, isolating the listener in a world so strangely unique it's an almost chilling experience. Sounding somewhere between ancient sea shanties and modern day folk Birdengine's brand of musicianship is as unique as it could be with nylon strung guitars taking centre stage along with his divine crooning.
There is a definite air of magic and mysticism in the music's eerie simplicity. Tilbury spins tales of mermaids, dead rulers in glass prisons and the lunar cycle, never once leaving his fingers on a single note for too long crafting what sounds like an effortless aura of shrouded calm destined for desolate pastures and walkmans alike……..'
'It's dark down in the Dorset woods with a title like that, and tracks that include Alone with the Beast folk, Fare Thee Well Feral Child and You Gave Birth to A Horse, you can make a fair stab at what Lawry Joseph Tilbury's (for Birdengine is he) debut mini-album is going to sound like, before you've heard a note. And you'd be right. Recorded on cassette (really) this is dark and sinister nu-folk from the backwoods of deepest Dorest. Accompanied only by an acoustic guitar, tape crackle and the occasional snatch of birdsong, Birdengine's murmured vocals tell tales of strangeness and charm, darkness and mystery. It's an older England that these songs come from, a pagan land, where mythagos and weirdness lurk in the depths of the primal woods, glimpsed out of the corner of an eye, there but never truly seen. Unlike say the Handsome Family, who mine a similar vein but leave it leaven it with black humour, Birdengine plays it straight. From the startling and shocking couplet 'I spent the summer cutting heads of dogs/ I spent the winter trying to sew them back on' you know this is for real. There's nary a hint of pretension – no mean feat with this sort of material and sound – but there is the sense that it really is music Birdengine has made for himself that's just happened to be released, and who cares what anyone thinks of it, which is rare indeed. RABIT WATER is only 25 minutes long, and that's as well, as the land it comes from is not a place where too much time should be spent. It's not a place for everyone either, but those who do visit will find that it has a strange and compelling beauty .'
'Birdengine's track-listing is as follows: 'heads off dogs', 'alone with the beast folk', 'the evil twin', 'fare thee well feral child', 'dead mermaid', 'you gave birth to a horse' and 'buried in the black snow.' Collaborations with X-Factor contestants surely await…… Listening to Birdengine is like looking inside Bill Bailey's head. Goblin's frolic in mystic woods with West Country accents whilst Druid's conduct pagan ceremonies at midnight. Birds become musical instrument's and songs are entitled 'fare thee well feral child' and (the rather matter of factly) 'you gave birth to a horse'. Effectively it sounds like Leonard Cohen in a Thomas Hardy novel. So what's it all about? I think only Birdengine's other self Lawry Joseph Tilbury knows. The album is recorded on a 4-track tape recorder, and woodland creatures, rustling trees and an absence of anything electronic, all contributes to an extremely lo-fi feel. Birdengine incorporates post-rock experimentalism, glimpses of folk and often incomprehensible lyrics to produce a mini-album (7 tracks) of weirdy beardy music. Highlight for me was 'buried in the black snow', which uses a delicately played acoustic guitar to accompany lyrics about his childhood explorations in the Dorset woodlands. The result is a piece if music that could feature on any horror flick. The same could be said for most of the album. Inevitably as a fine line between artistic genius and pretension is tip-toed along, the appeal for artists like Birdengine is always going to be limited. It's often unnerving and uncomfortable to listen to, though somehow I don't think Mr Tilbury will mind, he'll probably be on an acid trip at a midnight séance as we speak.'
Dave Allen, www.subba-cultcha.com
'A modern day madcap singing fireside tales of otherworldliness where faceless horses dwell amongst feral children and dead mermaids. These are the mesmerising and addictive sounds of a reclusive songwriter who spent far too many childhood nights playing alone in the woods. The woodland will never be the same again.'
"Ramshackle retrospective of a reclusive artists' rural childhood
'I spent the summer cutting heads off dogs, I spent the winter trying to sew them back on'. So sings Lawry Joseph Tilbury over music box, nylon string guitar and haunting melodica on opening track off 'I Fed Thee Rabbit Water'. This collection of seven songs is magically creepy and sparsely epic, capturing the imagination with tales of dead mermaids, kings trapped in jars, feral children and the moon.
'Alone With The Beast Folk' has a dark, twangy folk feel. Scratches vinyl crackles and an achingly melancholic guitar line make up 'The Evil Twin', later to be joined by birdsong and whispy backing vocals. 'Fare Thee Well Feral Child' is an eerie ode which brings together Sparklehorse distorted vocal effects and Antony style harmonies to provide a luxurious listen. Lawry's style has been compared to that of Daniel Johnston but also has touches of Tiny Tim and Withnail soundtrack composers David Dundas and Richard Wentworth.
'You Gave Birth To A Horse' (another awesome title !) sounds like an acoustic Muse classic recorded in a gothic ditch. 'Buried In Black Snow' is Lawrys warped wish to 'talk with the livestock', an off kilter folk feast.
Both unnerving and intriguing in equal measures, feed thyself some Rabbit Water.'