Technology is a dead bird
(self release; 2009)
In a post-In Rainbows world, some artists have adopted a “do it yourself” attitude and have released digital albums to the tune of pay what you want. Chicago’s Mars Argo, a dreamy indie-pop boy girl duo from Chicago, have done just that with their debut, Technology is a Dead Bird.
The album’s opener, “The Singularity is Near,” is a minute of surreal confusion. The keys of a piano are plucked with simplicity, as swirls of electronic noise and spoken word voice-overs delivered through what sounds like a vintage telephone culminate to form a dreamlike wall of sound.
There’s a peculiar mesmerizing quality to the electronic confusion used by Mars Argo. In addition to the prelude, there are two interludes breaking up the album that use the same captivating scratchy spoken word monologues.
When it comes to the full-length tracks of the record, Mars Argo still incorporates some of the same dream-like qualities, but presents them in a subtler package by hiding them under driving guitar and percussion.
“Tired Today,” features shared vocals but quickly is reduced to an airy female whisper that ends in another cold telephone monologue. All the while, a heavy drum beat and catchy guitar riffs blend with delicately layered effects, making the transition from warm to cold seamless.
While most tracks feature beautiful vocals, particularly the female sections, there’s not much to grasp onto since everything is so well blended. There is no real clear-cut stand out track; each plays with the surreal electronic trait equally and sounds just as similar to the last.
The experience of listening to Technology is a Dead Bird becomes a quick escape to another world. It’s nothing you’ve ever dreamt of before and when you return you’ll remember the otherworldly voyage not as individual segments, but as one larger whole.
It’s refreshing to see a project like Mars Argo release an album through a pay what you want scheme. They’ve built a dream and have shared it all on their own. It’s quick, confusing, and strange, but you will not regret the trip.
Trial Track: “You Don’t Know Me Anymore”