By Will Yannacoulias
Our Grade: A
Prince Albert LoFi producer Patrick Moon Bird’s output has been nothing short of prolific. 2020’s Useful followed on the heels of 2019’s Useless, both full length albums which earned SMA nominations. Bird has now added a third album to his catalog, 2021. Released February 5, the album contains 23 tracks of Bird’s signature mellow, dreamy brand of jazz tinged hip hop. His nuanced guitar playing and hushed, gentle vocals feature more prominently than with previous efforts, marking an exciting direction in his growth as an artist and distinguishing 2021 as his best work to date.
As always, Bird’s songs are beautiful to behold. Deceivingly simple at first, it becomes apparent how carefully and patiently arranged each track is, unfolding gradually in a way that is lulling and hypnotic without ever becoming repetitive. His previous albums were dominated by instrumental arrangements with only occasional singing, but on 2021 Bird fully reveals his vocal and lyrical skills. Whether sleepy and relaxed on “Wake Up” and “Waiting On The World Again” or sweet and soulful on “I Remember” and “Take Me Somewhere Safe”, Bird’s sincere voice and honest delivery is a welcome addition to his instrumental work.
Bird’s music has always struck the balance between digital and traditional, with the synth keys and drum loops pairing organically with guitar, bass and ukelele. This dynamic continues on 2021, with Bird’s guitar playing featured prominently on several tracks. The jaunty, fun jazz groove on “Flwr Grdn” and the haunting melodies of “Snow Fairy” and “Oh Baby” are a treat, and the guitar and vocal arrangement on “Take Me Somewhere Safe” wanders into singer/songwriter territory, displaying Bird’s range and versatility.
Another expected feature on any Patrick Moon Bird album is his talented collaborators. He reunites with Dreamscape Lofi Collective partners Tatl Tael on “I Remember” and “Dancing to LoFi”, and Subsolar on the tracks “Just For Her” and “Astro”. Local artist admire appears on one track, “Please Leave”, her soft delicate voice adding another dimension to Bird’s music. Reservoir Recording, the Prince Albert studio and label operated by Jordy Balicki and Stephen Williams, joined forces with Bird on the track “Finding Your Way Back Home”, a more layered, polished song which still bears his distinctive vibe and offers a tantalizing look into the potential for combining his genius with a full studio.
2021 is a wonderful release from a versatile, complex artist. The musicianship, songwriting, arrangements and production are all first rate, and the songs themselves are unique and experimental while remaining accessible to a larger audience. Bird had already positioned himself as one of Saskatchewan’s must-hear musical artists and 2021 promises his continued growth and evolution in new directions.
*photo credit Contingent Colours Photography