COLOUR: Neon Magenta EXTRAS: N/A
The latest album from Randy Randall, guitarist and multi-instrumentalist of tireless Los Angeles experimental punk duo No Age, Sound Field Vol. 2020, continues the iconoclastic weirdo ripper’s series of audiovisual urban excursions in a contemplative set of ambient compositions exploring the abandoned expanse of pandemic-era Los Angeles.
“Vol. 2020 is named as such (and not ‘Vol. 2’) because of the massive psychic shift that occurred at the beginning of the global pandemic and subsequent lockdown,” says Randall.
The project took root in the earliest days of lockdown, as the absence of perennial, man-made din revealed the secret lives and hidden contours of the world without us: The cacophony of birds on empty boulevards; the rhythmic click cycles of unmanned escalators; PA announcements reverberating back into themselves across abandoned transportation terminals; nocturnal choruses of wildlife reverberating across hillsides under a plane-less sky.
We listened inwards, too, recontextualizing ourselves as we reckoned with an abrupt and collective halt never thought possible in our lifetime, as if someone had pressed mute on the world. Little did we know what would come. With no choice but to confront the present, we gave ourselves over to a brief moment of fear mixed with wonderment, alone, together.
“Sound Field Vol. 2020 is a meditation on living through a year not many people thought would be possible,” says Randall. “We examined our own internal landscapes that were painted with a vast range of emotions and punctuated with fear, outrage, hope, love, loss and community.”
The final set of songs soothingly finish off the record. “Shore Sunset Pt.1” has shiny, ambient tones that are perhaps a bit dark and uninviting at first, however, are then softened by blissful pads. Wavy and nostalgic, “Shore Sunset Pt. 2” finishes the record off with detuned guitars and some monotone breaks for thinking.
Randall is quite the established musician, and Sound Field Volume One sweetly succeeds in making music become art. Let’s hope there is more of this to come in Randall’s future. - INES LALONDE