Styles: American Underground, Avant-Prog, Alternative Pop/ Rock
Birdsongs of the Mesozoic began as a side project by Roger Miller and Martin Swope, who were members of the Boston band Mission of Burma. They were joined by Rick Scott and Erik Lindgren for their debut recording, a self-titled EP, in 1983. With Mission of Burma dissolving at about this time, Birdsongs of the Mesozoic became a full-time band. The group released the LP Magnetic Flip in 1985 and an EP, Beat of the Mesozoic, in 1986.
Miller left the group in 1988 and was replaced by Ken Field on saxophone, keyboards, and percussion. The new lineup released Faultline and Pyroclastics. Swope left the group and was replaced by guitarist Michael Bierylo. This last lineup released the CD Dancing on A'A on Cuneiform.
Birdsongs of the Mesozoic plays a unique mix of rock, punk, classical, minimalism, and free-form music. Instrumentation is piano, two synthesizers, guitar, saxophone, and electronic and acoustic percussion.
Previously unreleased music by the band's original formation is presented in The Fossil Record 1980-1987 (Cuneiform). This CD includes music the band composed for To a Random, a film by Boston filmmaker Michael Burlingame. The band has collaborated with New York City's "Wooster Group" and composed music for two PBS series, Nova and Sesame Street. In 1994, members of the group were invited to be Artists-In-Residence at Dartmouth College, Massachusetts College of Art, and Emory University. During 1998, Birdsongs of the Mesozoic collaborated with NPR commentator David Greenberger to present the spoken-word/music performance 1001 Real Apes for a five-city tour. The work was expanded into a new Birdsongs album, released one year later. In the summer of 2000, the band released a new album of entirely new material, Notes From the Mesozoic. Petrophonics was also issued that same year.
-Jim Dorsch (All Music Guide)