Twilight Fields is another of my musical projects. There’s an explanation why this new one is out under yet another name. You may, if you read this blog, be familiar with The Gateless Gate, the name under which I’ve recorded several Krautrock/ambient instrumental albums.
I started that project in 2012 as a way to jump-start my enthusiasm for making music, which had waned. I’d also heavily gotten into ambient music, so I wanted to try my hand at some variants of it.
Back around 2000, I recorded my first songs, badly, on an old blueberry iMac. Of course, I was young and naive, so I tried to “shop” them, to no avail. As a child of the eighties/nineties, my tastes were a mixture of idealistic eighties bands like The Waterboys, The Church, Midnight Oil, New Model Army, and other bands not afraid of big statements, and sixties and seventies psychedelic and progressive rock bands (Floyd, Genesis, Moody Blues, and so on) as well as melancholy Brit-folk singer-songwriters (Nick Drake, etc.). The songs I wrote and attempted to record reflected that mix.
Meeting with complete indifference from pretty well anyone I played them for, I shelved them, though the folkier ones would turn up on a release I titled Infinities, which has gone on to be reasonably popular with psych-folk fans.
In 2009, I again revived some of these old songs, along with newer ones, on an album titled Shadowlands, which I splurged on by recording in real recording studio with lots of friends helping me out. The album turned out well and was actually reviewed quite nicely by several prog-rock websites.
But the online music era had begun — so pretty well no sales ensued, despite the praise. One track from that album, “A Northern Song”, has actually weirdly acquired a second life on Spotify of late.
I haltingly tried to record more songs over the next few years, badly, and became too disheartened to go on. It’s sort of the modern musician’s story in a nutshell.
However, indulging my instrumental ambient music tastes with The Gateless Gate not only revived my enthusiasm for music-making but allowed me to hone my mixing and recording chops to the point where I finally knew what I was doing. In early 2016 I had fun indulging a bucket-list item by recording a psychedelic rock album full of unapologetic weirdness and experimentation, inspired by acts like Gong, Hawkwind and Amon Düül II, Aeons, which I released as Khan Tengri.
However, for the last year I’ve also been working on reviving those same old songs from around 2000/2001. I worked on my pop-rock recording chops by recording several Twilight Fields singles and b-sides and releasing them secretly on Bandcamp; some people have bought them. At the same time, using some drum tracks from an aborted session in 2011 (the drum tracks are very good; it was my playing at the time that didn’t work out), I was meticulously assembling the album Further Up, Further In! with every note of every arrangement exactly as I’d imagined it all those years.
So this isn’t just a normal album. It’s a dream come true and pretty well contains everything I’d like to say to you about the world. It’s my heart on my sleeve — not just my contemporary one but the heart of that young boy back in the late nineties who wanted to make inspiring music like his heroes.
Of course, releasing it has not been without wrinkles; a publicist I’d been acquainted with and who I considered hiring just didn’t answer my emails; a label owner I once knew did the same. The wall of indifference is as high, or higher than ever. It’s possible that nothing’s changed since I was twenty-five, and getting this music into someone’s ears will be almost impossible. God knows it’s hard being an independent musician here in the no-money, everyone’s-got-an-album-out era. But I’m at peace with what I’m doing and what I’ll be leaving behind when my music-making is finally over, and in fact I’ve already started recording more rock songs for a 2017 album release under the Twilight Fields name.
Here’s the official blurb, and listen below:
“Further Up, Further In!” is the debut full-length album by Twilight Fields.
Philosophical in tone, the songs deal with the crises of a crumbling human world and damaged environment, but also humankind’s place in the greater universal context and the need for a drastic upswing in compassion and love to help us find our way.
The expansive sound and reflective, philosophical tone of this record stem from many influences, from psychedelic and progressive rock to eighties neo-psych and alternative, psych-folk, and even ambient and shoegaze. My way of musical thinking has been strongly affected by spacy prog acts like Pink Floyd, Strawbs, Barclay James Harvest, and The Moody Blues, the cosmic psych of Hawkwind and Amon Düül II, but also the intelligence, passion and depth of eighties bands like The Waterboys, Midnight Oil, New Model Army, and The Church, and the wistful sounds of seventies British folk songwriters like Richard Thompson and Sandy Denny — as well as the vocal arrangements of The Beach Boys.