Last week, I posted a video containing some admirable whistling, which got me thinking about Andrew Bird who is hands down the most stellar whistler I've ever come across. Then, as so often seems to happen in life, he cropped up again when I read this post just a few days later. So to complete the rule of three, I'm going to share a video of Andrew Bird playing "Anonanimal" from Noble Beast.
This recording is a great example of what he did when I saw him live at the Berklee School of Music (in 2004?) after his album Weather Systems came out. He played alone, in his socks, pushing the floor controls of a looping recording device that allowed him to layer bits and pieces of music over and over one another to create complex, rich melodies over which he would then play guitar or piano or chimes and sing... and whistle. Crazy good whistling. I read somewhere once that he said that even though he is a classically trained violinist, he felt comforted by the fact that even if he was in a terrible accident and lost both arms that he could go on recording music by whistling! I seriously would buy that album. I think he's a genius. Seeing him live was amazing; it was like watching someone build a song piece by piece, cobbling it together note by note right in front of you. In the quiet pauses in the music it seemed like you could hear the audience breathing, everyone was so silently listening on the edge of their seats. I've never been to another concert like it.
I would like to add that this recording series is shot in the Chapel at Brooklyn's Greenwood Cemetery, which is a special place. I hope that no one in Mike's family is offended that I would put up a video of a musician playing there, because I do think that it's a beautiful, classy song. You can watch the other four songs in the session here. I think "Why" in particular shows just how ingenious his songwriting is.
If you can't see the video, go here.