Review: Blithe Field – Days Drift By (self-released, Apr 6)

In contrast to Face Always Towards the SunBlithe Field’s previous album, Days Drift By sees Spencer Radcliffe leading a diverse ensemble of featured musicians. This is a much lusher and more ambitious record, but it still feels just as personal. Field recordings of bubbling brooks and chirping birds share space with beautiful piano melodies, glitchy electronic augmentations, and the rich drones produced by Ben Austin’s cello. Despite the expanded lineup and larger range of sounds, the music on Days Drift By is welcoming and intimate. Its loose, organic climaxes and distinct colorfulness beckon you to join in, and doing so is the auditory equivalent of rolling around in soft grass on a warm summer day. Luckily, the album also avoids tedium, which can happen with even the sunniest music. The contrast found between the first two tracks provides a great example of the variety that’s present here; the soft effervescence of “Prelude” dissolves into the much more abstract contortions of “Bubbling Cauldron,” yet the underlying atmosphere is always constant. Days Drift By is making even me wish for summer, especially since the weather outside right now belongs more to January rather than early April.