Brokeback is Douglas McCombs. Douglas may be familiar to many of you as the bassist for Eleventh Dream Day, Tortoise and Pullman. Looks at the Bird is Brokebacks's third album, originally released in 2003. Sold out on vinyl for over thirteen years, this re-issue is pressed on high quality virgin vinyl and packaged with an artworked inner sleeve and an accompanying download card. Looks at the Bird is Brokeback's third proper release.
Noel Kupersmith's involvement in the songwriting process is perhaps the most significant development on Looks at the Bird. In the past Noel was strictly a player and co-arranger with Douglas. However, on Looks at the Bird, Noel was involved in the writing process from the album's inception. Both reacted to the "loose" and "open" nature of Morse Code by creating songs with structured melodies and strong metered underpinnings. The songs are extensively layered with strings, keyboard elements, drums and programming and are occasionally complimented by vocals. It's all held in shape by the compositional sense and rich bass lines of McCombs and Kupersmith. It was recorded and mixed by John McEntire at Soma Studios in the spring of 2002, except for "The Wind-Up Bird" which Noel mixed with Casey Rice at Classics Studio.
Noel and Douglas were joined by a host of talented friends including Chad Taylor and Rob Mazurek of Chicago Underground Duo on drums and cornet. McEntire also contributed organ, drums and percussion. Aki Tsuyuko, who has performed with Nobukazu Takemura and Jim O'Rourke played fluteorgan and reed organ. Stereolab's Mary Hansen and Laetitia Sadier lend their vocals to three songs, "Pearl's Dream," "In the Reeds" and "Name's Winston, Friends Call Me James." The latter a particular favorite of Douglas and like the title, a wonderful introduction to the singular sonic adventures of Brokeback.