Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Shawn Biggs at Studio Paradiso, San Francisco, California
The multi-layered style that Kyle Field likes to give his voice on the recordings he makes will make you feel as if there were two or more of him in the room with you at all times. It might not be for you that he does this. It more likely is a simple reflection of how his voice is forked, needing to be expressed in different incarnations, acting in collusion with one another, fluttering alongside the main vocal string like training wheels for a birded flying machine - dipping and diving with turbulence and joy-riding. One of the Field's that we hear is running straight down the centerline, emitting a subtle and controlled emotion, a snowdrift of a pretty voice.
The next voice comes out of left field and the other from right field, showing different ranges and various high winds that curl and help push and sculpt the banks of that middle voice, that piled up drift that sits there slumped like a cold, sleeping dog.
Field, who records his music out in the San Francisco bay area under the name Little Wings, will sound as if he is between your ears, extending very personal postcard transcripts, meant to be read solely by the addressed, but with the words uncovered on backside of the scenic shots of landscape and touristy hot spots, the temptation and ability to read/listen is too hard to ignore. So, we get these songs, these quaint and vulnerable, easy-listening folk songs that are pages from a kind of diary that would have been kept by Emerson or Whitman had they access to a four-track recorder and a willingness to devote a couple of their hermetic weeks of wilderness time to a session with some microphones. He mentions that he's just a "free bird, totally free," and it's how all of the Little Wings material strides about, as if lifted upon the air, uncomfortable in sitting, needing to be out there in the fogginess, amongst the clouds, chilling through the nautical miles - pretending that the air was an ocean that needed attention and a calming influence.
He makes wishes also, singing lines like, "Oh to be the one you'll bring back in your beak so tenderly," gorgeously pleading for an abundant love and a general coolness that could almost be ignored because it was the norm. It's a soothing rumination about not having to put up with the difficulties here on the ground, just being able to float above it all. It's a story of the past, present and future with the past and the future being the times sought for the present times have him free but without a home on that branch that he once loved and was chased from. He - and this could be the same eccentric, woolly bearded Field of real life - longs for that branch back, for a home back up there with the breeze that brings him his blood and warms it to, back where the songs can just lose themselves in the way that they're meant to.
*Essay originally published January, 2010