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Ral Partha Vogelbacher: 'Party After the Wake'

Screeching feedback has never sounded more beautiful than it does on Ral Partha Vogelbacher's latest CD, Shrill Falcons. Frontman Chadwick Bidwell says he was listening to a lot of doom metal and noise rock when he set out to compose the album, so it's no surprise he came up with a richly textured collection of songs. Fuzzy guitars rumble over crackling synths and multi-colored, ambient drones. It's an emotional and intriguing avalanche of sound that Bidwell serves up as a remembrance of his father who died several years ago.

"'Party After the Wake' is, well, about a party at my parents' house after my dad's wake," says Bidwell. "I kept seeing him out of the corner of my eye, in the way someone would walk into a room or something."

Bidwell's mourning and recovery are further detailed in songs like "Birthday in Beijin," about a trip his mother and sister took to China after his father's death. "New Happy Fawn" is a morbid tale about a stray cat that wandered into Bidwell's life. "My mom wanted me to kill (it)," says Bidwell, "because my father was trying to kill it a few days before he died."

Bidwell collaborated on Shrill Falcons with Dee Kesler of the San Francisco band, Three More Shallows. Bidwell composed the lyrics then handed them over to Kesler who composed most of the music. Bidwell and Kesler then produced the tracks with help from percussionists Jason Goanzales and Brian Fraser, with some of the odder sounds supplied by Odd Nosda

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Robin Hilton is a producer and co-host of the popular NPR Music show All Songs Considered.