There’s a real feel of the outdoors in The Field Journal. Hazy melodies lie against the dry, long strands of grass. Insects chirp and buzz from within their own shrunken world; for them, it must feel like a jungle. Dusty panoramas slowly reveal fields of golden wheat, and, staring out of the car window, bales of hay rest on flat, open plains. In this part of the country, the sun-washed crops are always in the best of health. Dust kicks up under the tires, clouding the path that used to be a road with its dry dirt. The Field Journal is a memory-book that opens up various, memorable gateways not only to the past, but to the present, those enriched periods of life and those endless days that are spent under the white-hot brilliance of the sun.
North Carolina’s Zachary Corsa gently plunges the listener into an alternate dimension. Sunshine leaks into the music, poured as if from a fountain flowing in reverse. “Wolf Teeth Revisited” growls gently, and like a favorite pair of jeans, the music is casual and slightly frayed. The record may feel open and pastoral, but it’s also intimate; the long fields may stretch on and on, but they may be home, too. Beside the pine-scented trees that rustle and sway in the mild breeze, the music makes tree sketches by pressing against the bark, the thin sheet of paper rubbing against the rough texture of the tree. The fuzzy distortion that settles into the music clothes the tree with its furry moss, and it carries a similar abrasive feel. The plucked attack of a banjo later on may be a little softer in its tone, but it still has a sharp edge that can cut you if you’re not careful.
High school bells ring out among the tight-knit, rural communities. Everyone knows everyone here. Three in the afternoon, and a game of baseball plays out in the late heat. A home run flies over the little stand that’s half-draped in the folded stars of the American flag. Dogs run around in a nearby park. It’s idyllic music. The songs are intimate, cozy. Like a radiator in the living room, they signal contentment, and the fine scenery of the countryside comes into view as we gaze out of the front window. The music is the eye through which we see. Not that we’re spending a lot of time indoors. Not today, at least. Barbecues and friends are waiting, and the day is fine. “Years In The Faded Light” oscillates in the light, its slightly unstable centre indicating the pure fragility of the perfect moment; your smile, that day. The swirling guitar melodies travel in reverse. Full of light, the notes flicker their long, sustained tails like the wild, fluttering flames of a forest fire. The notes fall in on themselves, and as they do they present a slightly distorted view of reality, like a supposed Bigfoot sighting in a national park. The sun’s facing our way, and it’s obscured through the pines. It’s a short journey, but boy, what a perfect day trip. (James Catchpole)