31 March 2011

Blithe Field - beautiful wave '74 (2010, Messy Life)

The names of artists such as The Books, Foxes in Fiction, Black Moth Super Rainbow or American Analog Set are used to describe the musical universe of Blithe Field, the mostly solo project of Athens, Ohio, based Spencer Radcliffe, apparently sometimes helped by one or another friend.

And such band names come on purpose for one of the very few really interesting artists to emerge from the "chillwave" scene of last year.

Spencer is really trying hard to develop something particular, belonging to him. Of course he owns a strong debt towards The Books, as he is using plenty of found sounds and field recordings, adding nice minimal rhythms, some guitar, lots of samples and loops and occasional vocals.

Exploring such a part of the universe of The Books, he is in fact invigorating what could have been one more indie lo-fi record into something both sensitive and playful. There are no strict melodies, just atmospheres and beat-drive instrumental songs ornated of well chosen sampled voices. 

You'll enter and enjoy this record with a light heart, "Vacation" and "Bible School" are just delicious moments. Next he delivers what is probably the highlight of the record, a very melancholic and moving "I love you tate" where something like a repeated vocal fragment turns with the guitar into a very moving achievement.  It is really a direction to explore.

I really like when he develops something bittersweet, both lively and desperate, as with "My fins", both carefree and not far from the rupture, on the delicate lullaby "Ghost riding the whip", with a guitar as the leading instrument on "Shining Time", or on "Brady's World" which reminds me of Havergal without the vocals.
If you had ten bands exploiting to the core the sound techniques of The Books you would start to complain, but except Blith Field is see no one else, so even "Duck" is a welcome interlude and at worse, even the other few easiest tracks are still pleasant and comfortable.

Blithe Field @ The Spacement from Andrew Logan on Vimeo.


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