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Tucked away in the southern area of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in southern Utah lies Coyote Gulch, many a hikers mission with its beautiful canyons, trails, and oasis like streams that trickle through exposed desert and damp canyons. It's here of all places that Andrew Bird has recorded an album. Actually, a short film and an album.
Ambient in design and somewhat in execution, Echolocations: Canyon features classic and improvised arrangements by Bird in a natural environment. The trickling of a stream is heard throughout "Sweep The Field", and "Groping the Dark", the albums first two tracks. Strangely enough it's missing on "Rising Water" which is a haunting piece appropriately named. Nothing on Echolocations: Canyon is going to blow the listener away, this is an ambient album where quiet space is often used to great effect. Bird is just as apt to use a moment of silence as he is a high violin bar or trademark whistle. The result is for the most part positive if you can remain locked into the album for it's entire duration (50 minutes). This isn't an album you'll be listening to with friends or poolside at the summer barbecue. This is an album for flexing solitude. Songs like "Antrozous" and personal favorite "The Canyon Wants to Hear C Sharp" move at the pace of a Buddhist monk, slow, and yet in complete harmony. This is music for being cognizant of all surroundings. For those familiar with ASMR or classical compositions used as sleep aids, Echolocations: Canyon is a treat.
Echolocations: Canyon is the first in a series of planned recordings for Bird who hopes to captures what he calls "site specific compositions in exceptional national and urban environments". While some might find the idea better than the implementation, patience rewards the listener here who lets their mind be taken away from the hustle and bustle of societal obligations to relax for an hour or so meditatively and reflectively at a tranquil place of profound imagination where a violin can turn into a bird's wings.