Wei-Chi Field – ‘Pathways’ Review

Wei-Chi Field, which literally translates to “Protective Energy Field,” is a group that uses eclectic world music to unify and inspire their listeners. Their new LP Pathways is the next step of that beautiful journey, comprised of ten tracks that intertwine other-worldly sounds meant to enlighten. With squishy beats designed to get you moving, Pathways evokes a wide spectrum of emotions, from the opening track “Becoming” which is like waking from a dream, to “Decyphered Content Suite,” ft. Shanti, a song of psy-dub sounds pulled taut over a relentless bass drum rhythm.

Throughout the release, Samuel Wexler lends us his beautiful violin strings, while Benjamin Sunshine displays his talent through various forms of percussion (not to mention some vocals), all wavering over Shane Eagen’s driving drums. The composition  takes the listener on a journey out of your mind and into Dan’s, utilizing sounds from all over the globe, including prayers in both Arabic and Hebrew, as an ode to his experience of the psytrance scene in Israel. African and Oriental instrumentation are sprinkled masterfully among other flowing and morphing soundscapes. The journey switches between the quietly serene and the beat-driven cosmic dance seamlessly. Even at it’s most up-beat, the music seems to caress your mind.

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It is not entirely a surprise that some of the songs on this LP took three years to produce. Truly a headphone experience, new sounds  emerge with every listen. More and more, groups who use live instruments embrace the endless layering ability of the digital world. To tell a story, to pioneer a musical journey, the capabilities computer composition offers cannot be denied. Fitting together like a cosmic jigsaw puzzle, Wei-Chi Field is intentional with each frequency – each has its place. The squishy synths are controlled in their footprint, not muddying the driving sub bass down below, and not twanging off the rapidly changing bright sounds above. The stereo spectrum is stretched to its widest, with shakers dancing in and out and behind the many stringed instruments of the Middle East. The journey that Dan Yolles promises is a maze of expression, a mixture of the digital and harmonic; an onion ready to be peeled back. Yet after all of that, the compositions never sound too busy.

A standout favorite track, “Nigun Sheleg Snow Melody,” starts with a chanting prayer which leads into a beautiful string crescendo that is eerily over-shadowed by a single voice, as if calling out to the higher power themselves. Another great moment is during  “Masa HaLev Journey of the Heart,” when dark cosmic tones stumble into one of the most joyful compositions you will ever hear.

The album concludes with “I Wish This Night Would Never End,” a track that both begins and ends with ocean waves crashing on a beach. Lying down to this one is bliss. The waves whoosh and swirl back and forth, and you can relax after a trying day. Fade out with the track, to birds happily chirping in your ear.

Current Primary Live Members
Dan Yolles: Composer, Producer/Composer, Instrumentalist
Samuel Wexler: Violin, Aux FX
Benjamin Sunshine: Percussion, Vocals
Shane Eagen: Drumset, Percussion

Guest Musicians
Coleen Dierdek: Violin
Hayley Porter: Vocals
Isabel Blu: Vocals
Sirilius a.k.a Mark Coup: Xylasynth

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