Blithe Field - No Controller

George Awwad compares the new science-fiction inspired album to the sound of thunderstorms.


On the project’s Bandcamp, you can find No Controller in a prominent display as the outer layer of every Blithe Field release to date. The vague symmetry invites a fitting tone to the new album’s production but also further imprints the tailored storytelling aspect inspiring each release. On the album’s page, Spencer Radcliffe writes that storytelling has become the “most important part of the songwriting process” for him. It’s a constant presence tied into each of his albums where its growing instrumental disparity barely touches on the cornerstones of its true intentions.

My experience with the album has sort of become passively synchronized with the recent thunderstorms taking up most of my afternoons. Though, the chaos blended seamlessly in the background, and the tornado warnings fell under a personal footnote to the experience. Its sounds soon became increasingly polarized, and the album’s story was much easier felt around nature’s briefly unrestrained climate. The tremor of each nearby lightning strike slowly became watered down along the carefully shifting sine-patterns, a recurring sonic element, further emphasizing the stillness found in any chaotic moment.

Interestingly, the titles found on No Controller seemingly represent each chapter of Blithe Field’s new tale. With its science fiction inspiration, courted by the novel, analog aesthetics throughout each composition, the story arc unfolds along a 32 minute run time that is just about parallel to 2011′s Two Hearted. Yet sonically everything about this album gives us something we’ve become accustomed to outside of the Blithe Field project. Warm Blood was the last record to play off of personal, natural sounds used to fill the listeners’ head space along spoken samples, and that, in turn, narrates the release. But even prior to his latest upload, Radcliffe referred to No Controller as a “lost album of sorts” and warned everyone to not let it affect their perception of his later 2013 release, which is meant to be a direct follow-up to Warm Blood

Still, transcendent elements do carry over, becoming a testament to No Controller‘s transitive interludes. From “Great Divide” to “The Glue That Holds It All Together,” the album manages to openly manifest its progression early on, and it doesn’t stop there. I’ve found a growing sense of comfort as the album plays on, given the engaging, interlinked structure of the release’s tracklist. Fostering a further development to the overall arrangement, the album easily excels on its finish. “Fiber Optic Bloodstream/Swirl of Emotions” becomes a summary of the woven symmetry found with the entire release, and from there, everything emphatically builds up to the title track, “No Controller.” But it’s the distinct measures built up prior to the track that unequivocally assure the corresponding story at hand.

No Controller was self-released June 3, 2013.

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