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“When the Birds Begin to Walk” by Coco Columbia

on August 2, 2016

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To say that the newest release from Coco Columbia, When the Birds Begin to Walk, is one hell of a wild ride would be an understatement. Her sophomore release is jazzy pop meets electro funk meets soul meets hip-hop. But what ties the four primary musicians together is their jazz roots. Improvising comes easy to Columbia and the nine other talented collaborators on this album.

When the Birds Begin to Walk is an intense fusion of jazz drums, scratchy and catching guitar riffs, edgy melodies and complex keyboards. Columbia’s high-pitched dream pop vocals perch atop all of this, not grounding the body of music but elevating it. As someone who can do it all, her writing and vocals span all 10 tracks, her drumming and percussion are heard on three of them, and her keys on eight.

Perhaps the track that ranges the widest is on the single, “Weight on Limb.” The melody is simple, kept by Columbia’s writing and harmonies, but the song is chopped into arresting riffs and light-hearted keys. A similar motif runs through the rest of the album, with vibes ranging from the ethereal and downtempo to the upbeat. Coco Columbia does not let up, bringing angst and solace to lovers of all sounds experimental. The improvisational tendencies of all 10 contributors to When the Birds Begin to Walk are nothing short of impressive and a solid example of the extensive and adventurous talent Portland has to offer.»

– Gina Pieracci



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