Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Patrick Stolley and Brad Kopplin
This - the landscape that Missouri's The Foundry Field Recordings tracks in tracts of cold wash and warm breeze -- is how I picture the aftermath, I think, though we'll never actually picture it because once we're gone, we're gone, right? Perhaps though, the charred earth will strike up its own band and deliver a kind of kiss-off good riddance to all of mankind that will borrow much of our sick evil and cold-bloodedness and lace it with a nice blanket of sympathy for us, shaking its head because it always knew this would happen.
Lead singer Billy Schuh, who dresses the part of a young professional but has a mind that fixates toward the things that Rod Serling crushed on, brings forth a record -- Prompts/Miscues -- that sounds like acres of wildflowers, but it's all a façade. His difficulty in understanding American man's destructive nature and its need for "liberating" others who don't feel a pressing need to be liberated has colored most of what he's written over the last few years. He's a television news junkie and a former Cold War addict, but you wouldn't really think it intuitively.
His explanation of the album makes it feel more like "AI" and it turns the points of introspection into the offerings of a world sedated into thinking that there's a need to dismantle each other in the name of anything. There's an odd disconnect between life and the living and the Foundry Field Recordings way is to mold that problem into a dim neon lit sign that will blinker on and off like a vacancy sign outside an empty roadside motel in the middle of no where. They make an album that's supposed to be us when we're no longer here. That's eerie, come to think of it.
"What gets me about the military, is that what is one man's job is another man's life. Take for example the drone pilots. They sit on a military base in the U.S. and fly remote control planes on the other side of the world. He guides the planes, drops missiles, then clocks out and goes home to dinner with his family. It just amazes me how a person's mind can get reset to think this is okay," Schuh said.
"Before I wrote those songs, I was having trouble finding inspiration and after watching a Twilight Zone marathon (the old black and white episodes) the storylines really got me. Here was a show that was talking about love, death, loss, fear, etc. written in clever sci-fi scripts and thinking about the time period when the Cold War was front and center. I was pretty much obsessed with everything sci-fi and Cold War so I thought about how to apply that to the songs. I think I was able to get a lot of that imagery I was looking for in the military operations and the thought that if man was going to end existence on this planet it would come from the hands of a military group. Prompts was written around this idea of the aftermath. Think of "Battle Brigades Pt. I" as the build up of technology and military, etc. and then in a second stop it dead (also that little part is a nod to Neil Young in the "Needle and the Damage Done" with the hard edit). From "Battle Brigades Pt. II" and on, the album is sort of the aftermath. What sounds would the survivors remember, and what sounds do we take for granted. After an apocalyptic event, you wouldn't hear traffic, subways, etc. so that is why we included all of the field recordings, to provide the sounds that would best fit the theme of the lyrics and mood of the songs."