Cagesan – I Love Machine (Beau Brun)

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cagesan

It’s not everyday that a special thing occurs, a historical moment that’s bound to shape our lives to come, and the lives of those after us. Yes, I’m talking about a point in time when a breakthrough is made, when liberty is found, when…a fabulous fashion loving Bicheno finch by the name of Cagesan sends you her debut album in bubble wrap. Now that’s something to tell the grandkids. Cagesan (pronounced keidjesan) appears on the press release, suitably draped in a glam sparkle cape but don’t be fooled, this bird is no ditz. She’s decided to use her looks, her style and natural singing ability to champion bird rights and fight discrimination in the music industry, emphasising that this is not just another anonymous ‘bird singing recording’ but the work of a fully-fledged artist who has been poorly represented in the past. The message is clear and simple, “we’re regarded as ‘outsider musicians’ because humans don’t speak our language; but truly, it’s human music that is ‘outsider language’, as it imitates the fusion of music and language that we songbirds perfected millions of years ago”. Respect. Cagesan knows that any revolution requires a communal following so she’s enlisted fifteen international artists to produce her music…with varying results.

‘Costume Prince Des Tenebres’ by Fashion Flesh opens the album with some old-school synth treated guitar, anologue blobs and theremin effects while Cagesan chips in with vocal stylings. It builds to a psychedelic meets sci-fi crescendo leading the way for the quirky little ditty feel of ‘Blouse Societe Secrete’. If you hadn’t noticed, there is a pattern emerging with the song names – they’re all homage to an item of clothing in Cagesan’s prolific wardrobe. Next comes what is the real highlight on the compilation, a track called ‘Costume De Lapin’ by Momus. It’s a true expression of melodic bird sensibility, capturing what seems to be random time signatures to the human ear (but are in fact highly complex patterns for forming song structure) and replicating them using computer sampling techniques. It’s amazing stuff, so good that you’d almost forget this is the work of a Bicheno finch until about two-thirds of the way in when Cagesan flaps her wings, the tiny flutter registering as an artifact from the production process. Subtle and brilliant stuff. The next track, lifts the humour with MC Cat Genius remixing ‘Manteau De Ville’. The Cat plays guitar ‘real good’, and knows so many cool riffs destined to impress an “exotic hotty with a small brown puffy body made of feathers”. Actually I caught up with MC Cat Genius’ owner earlier this week on last.fm and this is what he had to say about it, “the entire backing track is actually a Nina Hagen song about a teenage abortion and the questioning of a woman’s duty to society, “Unbeschreiblich Weiblich”; so the remix is about the male attitudes inherent in remixing. Plus he says ‘butt'”.

Next Digiki work up a glitch dance-floor oriented storm with ‘Manteau Chic’ but after this the mix starts to feel a little tired. Unfortunately Cagesan’s repetoire is fairly limited and her singing gets a little mechanical, like Kylie in her Stock, Aitken and Waterman days. Actually, kinda still like Kylie today. Don’t get me wrong, there’s some killer tracks on the album especially if you like quirky, playful compositions but to be fair to you dear reader, I can’t imagine you parting your cash for an ‘activist bird meets wardrobe’ concept album when you could buy the latest J.O.Y album instead.

Renae Mason

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