From the beginning, Jad Fair's nasal-tinged vocals, childish lyrics, and "The only chord I know is the one that connects the guitar to the amp" aesthetic have relegated him to being a perennial outsider. This is, of course, a large part of his charm. To fully appreciate the significance of Fair as an artist you need only know that his 1982 EP The Zombies of Mora-Tau bears the distinction of being so abrasive that even Lester Bangs found it unlistenable. Since forming Half Japanese with his brother David in 1974, Fair's music has been championed by the likes of Kurt Cobain and Jeff Mangum, and in addition to his extensive Half Japanese output he's released a seamlessly endless stream of one-off collaborations and solo albums. With his new EP Birdhouse (limited to a 300 hand-numbered vinyl run), Fair collaborates with French artist Hifiklub and Germany's kptmichigan, and the end result is a typically idiosyncratic burst of sonic ebullience.
Like most of Fair's music, Birdhouse is best listened to in its entirety. The songs meld together to form a surreal atmosphere - it was originally recorded to be played during one of Fair's art exhibitions - and at just 15 minutes long it ends before becoming exhausting. Unlike his more minimalist output (best showcased on 1993's Short Songs), Birdhouse has a jazzy, experimental slant, and is suffused with airy instrumentation that could stand alone without Fair's vocals.
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