Constellation of Birds
Agent Starling release their second album ‘Constellation of Birds’ on February 25th 2022. It follows debut album European Howl and winter EP The Northern Lights Trilogy, both released in 2021. Agent Starling are Quentin Budworth hurdy-gurdy and Louise Duffy-Howard aka Lou Loudhailer voices & other instruments, also featuring special guest Dexter Duffy-Howard on violin and cello. Recorded in Yorkshire UK by Agent Starling, the album was mastered in Oregon by Kevin Carafa.
In ‘Constellation of Birds’ real instruments, hurdy-gurdy, bass, violin, cello, hypnotic drones, vocal harmonies & spoken words are interwoven with found sounds and manipulated electronic synthesized tones. The melodies are inspired by traditional tunes, playing techniques, chants and refrains. The rhythm tracks are constructed from samples recorded around the home and field recordings to make rolling patterns and trap beats. The resulting mix is a very modern sound, a complex, compelling musical counterpoint full of catchy tunes with Pop, Indie, Folk and Dance sensibilities, all with an experimental edge.
The album features seven new original songs telling stories inspired by the environment in the contemporary world and influenced by musical traditions from nations across Europe, together with Agent Starling’s arrangements of two traditional tunes, O’Carolan’s Irish waltz Bridget Cruise and Swedish polska Hälleforsnäsar.
Agent Starling’s original songs span a joyful celebration of the summer solstice, Midsommer, to the song of an alien stranded on Earth – Leave No Trace. Paqaratz is an observation of the band’s dissent with the British government. Shadowland depicts a mysterious chance meeting by the dark sea, while dance track Princess Julia tells a fairy tale of a royal pretender and her secret. Valley to Mountainside, with its compound time signature changes and layered overlapping harmonies extols the beauty of nature, and in the album’s closing spoken word track – The Stonemason’s Dream – Agent Starling call for cathedral-thinking in the modern world to preserve it.