About a year or so ago, I was at my favorite brewery having a pint and listening to some live music. On occasion there will be live music on Sundays. Most of the time the music tends to lean more to the aggressive, punkish side of things. I don’t mind this; in fact, that’s what I was going there for. With that said, there are times where I am not in the mood to stand during a show, especially a show with a packed house. Luckily, I had snagged a stool at the bar and was all set to go.
Admittedly, I don’t recognize most of the bands or performers at these shows. Most are local bands and other times they just so happen to be a touring musician looking for a place to play. With a pint of delicious beer and a plate of their fabulous Korean-style brussels sprouts I was ready for the show.
Except I wasn’t ready for what was about to happen.
The first musician was a solo act and began working a guitar riff over a looper pedal. Layer by layer, the music quickly swelled and filled the room. It was something I was not prepared to hear and it stopped me completely dead in my tracks. About two minutes into his set, I had sent a text to my partner telling her that she must see this. I needed anyone and everyone to witness this. Sorry to the other acts that performed that day, but I don’t remember anything after his set. Even though I wish I knew what the name of the song was, because I would have loved to repeat that experience again and again, thankfully I found out the name of the artist. He performed under the name of Middle Mountain.
Once the performers were wrapping up for the day, I approached the artist and told him how much I enjoyed the set. To my surprise, he gave me a couple of his albums. That feeling will never, ever get old to me. Once I got home, I burned the albums onto my computer and loaded them on my old iPod.
As Middle Mountain, he released two full-length albums, By Way Of, in 2014, and Boxing, in 2016. This year while working on his next release, he had changed the name of his act to Folk Physics. Between having a record label and several actual mountains sharing the same name, it seemed logical to switch it up.
But, did the sound change? No. Not at all. With a new name came an improved upgrade.
Folk Physics’ latest album, Vanishing Point is a spectacular album, especially if you enjoy atmospheric lyric-less music. Like most of his releases, I found myself completely immersed in this album.
Most of the tracks reminded me of the travel show Departures. It was one of those shows you’d watch in the middle of the day because you had the day off and instead of doing anything, you sat on your couch and watched a travel adventure show buried on a channel known as Current TV. The show featured breathtaking cinematography as the travelers trekked around the globe. But alongside the scenery, there was a great musical soundtrack.
Vanishing Point feels like a beautiful journey to me. It may or may not have anything to do with the themes of rail-based travel associated on the album. I feel most instrumental-based music does that to me, though. It feels like I’m playing my life to a soundtrack. Most of the times the music helps me become more introspective or even mournful. But Vanishing Point offered a more sense of hope for me.
Like the travel television show, listing to something like “Conductor” and “Farewell To Steam” makes me want to throw on my hiking boots and hit up a trail. It makes me want to do something. Anything besides endlessly scrolling the internet indoors.
Throughout his creative input, Folk Physics has a keen ear for placing samples over his music. On “Chambers Of The Heart” the voice of a lecturer over a dizzying beat and guitar riff make for an excellent cinematic experience. The combination of the two become so engaging and his a major high point on the album for me.
“Jerkwater” is a fantastic dance-y jam that I have indeed bopped along to over the last few days. It’s has a very fun groove to it.
Personally, my favorite track on Vanishing Point has to be “False Casting”. As the kids say, I felt all the feels on this one. All the feelings I have about that travel show, about wanting to see the world from the top of a mountain are all here. All the feelings of wanting to do better and making the decisions to be better are here. The feelings of discovering something amazingly new and appreciating all that I have are here. “False Casting” is four minutes of a tidal wave of emotions. I don’t know how he does it, but Folk Physics has finely crafted his art with this album and this track in particular.
I’m reminded of that Sunday matinee show at the brewery and what would have happened if I didn’t make it to the show. I feel everything was in line that afternoon. After some time, there is a new album to take in and it’s an absolute must-listen. Vanishing Point is an album worthy of your ears and I hope it moves you as much as it moved me.