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Endless Field: Alive in the Wilderness

Geno Thackara By

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Endless Field: Alive in the Wilderness
It would have been simple enough just to evoke the feel and mood of various nature spots, but Endless FieldIke Sturm and Jesse Lewis—would rather show us that there's nothing like being there. Alive in the Wilderness was recorded in precisely that way, in a series of places through the desert of southwestern Utah, with all the natural meandering and quiet majesty that implies. The nature- conscious angle makes this session a perfect fit, Fabian Almazan's brainchild Biophilia Records (released as download- only with the only physical option being an eye-catching artwork sleeve), while its taping and accompanying video filming was run entirely on solar power.

Would the central theme have sounded noticeably less palpable if recorded in a conventional studio? That would have been more than fine, given the players' care and chemistry, but in these circumstances everything comes to wonderfully vivid life. The result is a series of short-and- usually-sweet sound paintings that takes the guitar/bass duo format merely as a starting point. Even when melodic, they lean toward minimalist to fit the quiet contemplative tone. Each miniature exploration feels out just the shape it needs, from evocatively composed mood pieces to quick elusive improvisations that fly right out of your head as soon as their couple minutes are over.

Lewis can go sprightly (see the folky highlight "Zim") or channel the late Michael Hedges with jaunty rhythmic tapping and chop-strumming. Sturm is equally smooth at providing a simple co-lead or bowing the strings for resonant atmospherics. Each occasionally sets down his instrument in favor of finding handy objects to make noise with. The stray twangs and jingles make another perfectly fitting angle to the project's resourceful DIY ethic; their sonic palette is just as intuitive and organic as the setting deserves. With a free impressionistic approach to sounds and notes alike, Endless Field remains delightfully impossible to pin down and their possibilities still truly feel endless.

Track Listing

Life on Earth; Wind; The Well; Fire; Zim; Spirit; Old Man; Creature; Heart; Water; Wolfhead; Air; Dance of the Bee; Dust; White Pond Sun; Moon; Prayer for the Earth.

Personnel

Ike Sturm: bass; Jesse Lewis: guitar.

Album information

Title: Alive in the Wilderness | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Biophilia Records

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