SOMETIMES, IT'S BEST to draw the shades. A dark room, when properly insulated, can be a sufficient heat source for the therapeutic distillation of the more inconsolable aspects of our personal lives—love lost, unmet expectations, and all the risks we take when participating in humanity. Most recently, Little Wings—the moniker for the ongoing folk project of ambling artist Kyle Field—has pieced together Black Grass, his 11th full-length. It's a work that perfectly embodies a descent into one's proverbial chambers, dank with one's thoughts.
When Field and I set out to talk about the record, we spent a fair amount of time discussing our thoughts on actual living quarters, wherein he described his displeasure with San Francisco's drafty "gingerbread apartments" (an image used in the barren track "Can I Knock on This Door?"), and his penchant for small spaces with angular ceilings, nooks to fill, and minimal gaping wall area. And when I asked of Black Grass' sonic disposition (foreboding? inconsequential?), he again called up décor, echoing what he described earlier. "I wanted to get the music to sound dark and cozy at the same time," Field said.
In that vein, Black Grass is a true mood piece. Sure, you can join the platoon of swirling, line-drawn images and landscapes deployed—similar to those contained in Field's drawings—and you can follow his hollow, quavering voice as it ascends from low mutter to falsetto heights. The distinct details of the songs make themselves clearer with each trip around the album's concentric circles. But ultimately, Black Grass is striking in the way it makes you feel—stuck at an impasse in your own confinement, yet through the cracks in the blinds the golden light of late autumn is pouring in.
When flailing in the drink of such tumultuous self-inspection, it's natural to want to know more. But insight is not always possible when trying to beckon someone out of their own head. In regard to any elaboration, Field says, "I want it to be unknown so I can enjoy the mystery of the feelings. All I know is that [the mood of the record is] more harshly true."