Blithe Field’s Face Always Toward the Sun, continues the ambient musings of Spencer Radcliffe, whose Brown Horse cassette split with R.L. Kelly for the label was a killer collection of sharp songwriting and rolling sonic chaos. His other, more emo-leaning work as California Furniture in 2013 further affirmed his songwriting chops, but Blithe Field remains Radcliffe’s solely instrumental effort. From his phenomenal split with Ricky Eat Acid in 2012 to a rich string of incredible tape collages, the Chicago musician has built something masterful through the years, looped euphoria in hazy, flattened bliss.
On Face Always Toward the Sun, the localism is overwhelming. With track titles like “Scaling Alden at Night,” “Secret Soda Machine,” and “Endless Days at Strouds,” the album feels like a crisp, forested exploration though Athens, Ohio, the small southeastern college town in the shadow of the Ohio University where Radcliffe and co. attended. It’s no secret that the city has a strong DIY presence, and here, Radcliffe, like many other collage compilers, makes the landscape central to the art itself, layering tracks with floor creaks, cricket chirps, and dog barks — wooded floors and cohesive, shuffling electronics that ease the works together.
- Rob Arcand, Tiny Mix Tapes