Andrew Bird « Outside Problems » Loma Vista Recordings 

September 2023 | MUSIC, 23/09

This violinist by training is the author of more than twenty albums, both solo and collaborative. He is a regular contributor to country-folk groups such as Neko Case and Handsome Family. From his earliest productions, he has established himself as a gifted multi-instrumentalist with a distinctive fiddle style. His style ranges from sentimental pop to neo-folk laden with diverse influences, even traditional folk as on his album with Jimbo Mathus. On this album, the tracks are based on improvisations recorded on location. As on some of his concerts, Andrew Bird uses pedals to create loops with his violin and guitar, over which he plays back live. Alan Hampton’s bass and, depending on the track, maracas, humming or whistling melodies and a track on which he sings, are added to the mix. While remaining approachable, this is one of his most radical albums, with motifs and sounds shifting from jazz to plucked strings reminiscent of traditional African music and the kora. On certain passages, we’re on the verge of contemporary music, without being hermetic. On these recordings, the musician goes further in his experimentation, but never forgets to take us with him.