How More Can You Need?
[Field Hymns; 2018]
In an instant, it feels like it might all collapse in on itself. In an instant, it feels like it might take me away. I scan to the ballgame for grounding. “That’s the last of the second,” a voice reminds me, impossible and infinite.
I look outside for context. A body could be forgiven for thinking the sounds came from a place like this, from a Turnpike past midnight. Heading north like some homeward goose, the space past exit 12 veers wildly under overpass, past sea and air ports. In nights, the twinkle of co-generation plants is that of grounded, frustrated stars, or of bio-luminescence under bogs. There’s something called Goethals out distant and looming, big as a ghost’s grin gleaming over an endlessly-unmoving cargo train of who knows. Shimmering and arcane, this alien home fills my wonder and scare me freely. There is no context, really. All we have is all we have. How More Can You Need?
“Just a guy who peppers the zone.” Listening to Larry Wish between outs in the ballgame, I think: what’s he peppering with? Should we expect fingers roiling pepper mills? Should we leave dimensional holes for jalapenos to be hoisted through? A flame spouts into the sky above the Bayway Refinery, and a gasoline prayer stamped alongside mammoth tankers reminds me to DRIVE SAFELY.
How More Can You Need? is the millionth long-player from Larry Wish, a prog-karaoker-cum-spaceship-windshield-salesman. He whistles while he works, “A Lot of Fun,” a human impression of the central processing unit reclaiming the Paper Mario soundtrack as prayer; maybe this is what melted Crayola sounds like. The lodge-spirit lounge-singer voice that peppered 2015’s Born Outside My Window and the chum pearl harmonies of Not From My Come From have evaporated: How More Can You Need? is strictly instrumental. The most human voice herein is a few B. Wilsoney hup hup doot doots in the opening seconds of “Never (Star Track),” but those give way to panoplies of laser beam synth, schlock and awesome. Like a terrestrial body in an alien world, like a radio voice transmitted from dozens of thousands of miles away: “No straight heat here, just good good wobble.”
I don’t know why I’m looking at tarmac and baseball for something like context for these sounds. How More Can You Need? is such a joy to steep in, a sound that feels in the back near your molars, that hums in the space around your heart. “The Person in Gentle” is true, the warm soil of field and the unstable searching hope of hymn. “I Can Fly in Love With You” starts and stops in slurve and drone, but at its core is such a lovely shine, finding the key, opening the door. “Sleeping With the Dance (Dancing, Sleeping)” is Kakariko Village singing you vital mission information. If you listen, you might learn who you are. “Hidden Ffolderes?S-Files” is the code behind Kakariko, a skronk of console poetry, a reminder that it’s all just a game, no matter what it feels like.
I am a breathing loss for words. Holes on either side of my head organ strain to fit glass lines between moving translucent boxes. How sounds? Where from? So much of How More Can You Need? is a fish flitting right by my fingertips; all I am feeling is what I could have felt or know about forgetting known. How me, these sounds? “You can’t do anything about it. Nobody can.”
Ryan Mastellar says: “What I have to say in the end is that once you acclimate yourself as a listener to the shifting landscape and gravity of the music, the better off you’ll be, and the more grounded your experience with this album will become. That’s a good thing.”
Nodding, dancing, sleeping, loving. These slices of broadcast baseball build a new world if you let them, like Larry Wish. “It’s also a good thing if you feel completely untethered while listening, not knowing which way is up or if you’ll crash land on some distant terrain like Mars,” Ryan goes on. I think about that word, untethered. This is what music must be, a wobbling of the air into something beautifully unconcrete. How More Can You Need? reminds me of sitting on the floor, playing Dreamcast, background bops at EPCOT’s Futureworld. It’s a SEGA two-step, silly proggy slop-rock. It’s a NJ Turnpike and the break of the knuckle curve.
Contrails sniff up from smokestacks; it looks like landing planes might dip straight into earth. A bat hits a cowhide (“there, he got it.”) and Larry Wish fades into the backseat, “Near.” This might be what living sounds like, a wobbling of past histories and feelings into new moments. Volatile and whole, composition as calibration, How More Can You Need? is the sound of an alien acclimating. I’ve never heard anything like it, even though I live in its world. It doesn’t have words; if you listen, you might find out who you might be. I hope you’re listening. Eyes up. Drive safely. We finally landed. Let’s do it again real soon.