The 'Paths' cassette is also included in edition #25 of the Geertruida Cassette Club. Join: geertruida.is/aclub
Order the cassette: geertruida.is/selling-tewksbury
Paths is inspired by Tewksbury’s travels to glaciers, tundra, and ice-covered lands, including Norway, Newfoundland, Alaska, Sweden, Ontario, and elsewhere: “I was witnessing such impossible beauty in the ice, places so remarkable that I could barely believe they existed. Yet there was a sadness hovering over each of these experiences, that these things will soon be lost. And maybe we, as a species, will be lost, too. I wanted to commemorate this singular feeling of both unbearable beauty and unbearable loss in this album.”
Recorded at his studio in downtown Hamilton, Ontario, Paths uses a dynamic musical palette of epic arcs, from huge sweeps of vintage analog synth pads, to delicate moments of solo acoustic piano, while bass clarinets and guitars and household objects are manipulated to create huge swaths of dense sound.
Tewksbury’s own field recordings are woven into the fabric of this record, too--the sound of the waves as an iceberg passes by the northern edge of Newfoundland, or the sounds of hiking with his daughters in the frozen Alaskan backcountry. Tewksbury composed Paths as a complete body of work, to be listened to in a single sitting.
Each song on Paths is personal. There are the multiple movements of opening track “Boreal” that evoke the natural tranquility and turbulence of the largest remaining forest in the world. The gorgeous solo piano “Sitaantaago Elegy” was written after witnessing first-hand the retreat and forthcoming death of an Alaskan glacier. The lush eight-minute “Viscosity” serves as a centerpiece to the album, trying to represent Timothy Morton’s concept of the Hyperobject in sound through rich, slowly evolving layers of analog synthesizers. Finale “Maybe Things Aren’t So Bad, After All” closes the album’s arc with another solo piano piece, returning listeners to their day-to-day with a moment of beauty, ending on one ultimate, defiant chord.
Paths is an honest record that looks for listeners to find a moment of peace, to reflect at the crossroads of how we got here and where we’re going. Tewksbury says, “I wanted to try to make moments of stillness and transcendence in the face of looming disaster. It’s not easy to look at where we are with climate change and environmental destruction and be hopeful—and I’m pretty pessimistic about our odds—but I guess I just wanted to make something beautiful for listeners. I don’t really know if art can save us, but it seems especially important right now.”