All of the best of bird that can fit onto one CD ...
J. Lund | SoCal, USA | 11/11/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"BIRD'S NEST is the first anthology of key tracks by bird, one of the most impressive and popular young singers in Japan (who sings almost entirely in her native language). She debuted in 1999 with a self-titled album which I consider to be as good as any post acid-jazz I have ever heard (I've reviewed it here at amazon). That album had an amazing variety of tracks, and was produced by Mondo Grosso's Shinichi Osawa (and in my opinion one of his finest projects to date). Osawa was also a key element of the 2000 followup album MINDTRAVEL, which was nearly as good as the debut. Other producers entered the picture on bird's next three albums (2002's GOKUJYO HYBRID, 2003's DOUBLE CHANCE, and 2004's VACATION). The quality of the music tailed off a bit -- perhaps not coincidentally, the jazz elements in her music diminished over time -- although all are above-average efforts.
BIRD'S NEST attempts to pick and choose from all of the above, and does about as good a job as possible considering that bird has probably recorded at least three CDs worth of memorable music. Although I could never recommend any album as a substitute for the 1999 debut, for those who don't have the time or money to be collecting her music, this greatest hits package provides a clear picture of her strengths. Her voice is soulful and expressive, the tunes are outstanding -- most co-written by bird -- and there's imaginative production and arranging by Osawa and others. The track lineup includes three cuts from the debut ("Souls," "Beats," "Sora No Hitomi"), four from MINDTRAVEL ("Game," "Oasis," "Sakura," and the title cut), two from GOKUJYO HYBRID ("Flow," "Sanpo Shiyou"), no cuts from DOUBLE CHANCE, and two from VACATION ("Kami Wo Hodoite," "Hibiscus"). In addition, there are two non-album singles ("Flash" and the 2005 reggae-flavored track "Warabi Gami"). There are too many great cuts missing to list, but all of those included are first-rate examples of bird's eclectic musical approach. In other words, BIRD's NEST is a good starter kit, but there's much more to like than what's on display here."