Offhensky & Pleq
A Thousand Fields
Infraction, 2015

No matter the day, no matter the year, Infraction releases are always a pleasure to receive, like some natural herb electrified through years of necromancy. They are all ambient, ethereal and wonderful in every way, but; given that I am not as avid a follower of such mindfulness music as I should be (and I obviously should explore the genre), this review will be challenging.

After you listen a few times, you may be overcome with the feeling of free floating just above the surface of a freshly-rained wide open field where the forest dwellers have just emerged after a storm.  Yes, it is quite peaceful.  And while it will remain for you to discover your own field of sanctuary as you listen deeply, the music continues to seep through all of us, becoming part of us in tiny little ways.  And for those of you who are not stricken with slight synesthesia as I am, enjoy the music without all of the imagery.  You may not know what you are missing, but enjoy the music anyway.

“Ashes of America” generates images of the musical dawning of a new age, perhaps the awakening after an apocalypse that’s finally over, and it’s time to assess the damage, salvage some necessities, and start a new life with a group of like-minded survivors (Forgive me.  I’ve been reading some interesting literature lately).  “Drown Under Dream Lit Skies” continues this stream of thought with rainbows, rain, and the emergence of crops and food finally being allowed to grow and feed the survivors.  Is this an apocalyptic vision, a beginning, an end, or a dream?  Perhaps it is all of these?  While some stuck in the so-called glory days of their past would say that no great music has been created since 19__, but I can point to this album and others, smile ironically and know that they have not struck out for unknown lands to discover the new and adventurous wherever it may be, and this music brings me joy.

“Hell Bent Down the Ego Hole” begins like an ethereal journey of Alice in Wonderland, but brings up imagery of a decidedly Buddhist nightmare of our own ego-imploding nature.  What will we discover around the next door falling down another hole of never-ending depth that only we can stop, when we finally land and discover that the horror was of our own making.  It all ends as strangely as it began, with “Wands Upon A Thousand Fields,” as waves of enchantment cover the war-torn earth as the healers disperse through the local landscapes of every land and continent, completing the healing process. Forgive the flight of fancy if you will.  A Thousand Fields has quite a powerful effect as the music elicits imagery that is both end of the world hopelessness and the beginnings of a new age optimism, and, I am at heart an optimist.

25 January 2016

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