If you aren’t familiar with him, Bill Baird is a well-regarded niche artist who has been responsible for twenty-six records over the past decade or so. Originally from Austin, the artist’s full career is enigmatic. For example, his current location on Bandcamp is Baird, Texas, which feels like a joke despite referring to a real place. Still, his hometown recognizes his contributions and honored him by declaring August 4th, 2011 Bill Baird Day. His work blurs the line of experimental lofi and performance art, leading us to his latest release, Owl. He is having a joint release and Halloween party this Saturday at Vega’s Meat Market in Echo Park; more info here.
The cerebral nature of most of Baird’s work has historically lent itself to commercial obscurity, but critiques of cultural institutions like Pitchfork and Drumpf have earned him media attention. Other technological projects have curried favor in art and design circles as well. But he has always been creating music, and his new LP is another must-hear.
Today, Baird is signed to LA’s Dangerbird Records, and Owl is the next installment of their Arthur King Presents series, which spotlights experimental musicians with compelling perspectives. One can make an educated guess about the content of this record; we have the brand new video for a track called “Strigidae,” the most obvious single thematically—Strigidae is the scientific Family classification for True owls. Other tracks include references to specific owl species, Greek mythology, and Winnie the Pooh.
Musically speaking, the experimentation on Owl is pleasantly melodic, layering many synth effects over each other for a tilted experience. Though there is not much to take away from it other than sheer enjoyment, I find myself searching for deeper meanings on this LP. Given the prolific nature of his career, engaging with Baird is not just a short-term experience; what ideas must he have had to invent this concept and execute it almost entirely on his own? It’s safe to assume that Baird has some interest in owls. Read more about the song below.