Blue Yonder

Blue Yonder

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Blue Yonder

Trapped in a cabin deep in the woods with no place to go. A psychedelic mushroom trip goes bad. A house cat escapes into the night. No, this isn’t a horror movie. This is the recording process for Blue Yonder’s latest album.

Recording on a temperamental reel-to-reel tape machine that may have very well been haunted, the band faced its share of hardships and dark times during the week-long excursion to the wilderness of upstate. But light always shines brightest in the dark, and listening to the tracks of “Wise Blood”, you will find yourself basking in the warm glow of the great Blue Yonder.

At the heart and soul of this creation is lead singer and guitarist Karalena Fjortoft's songwriting, who wrote the first six tracks of the album, including the titular "Wise Blood". Fjortoft's songwriting utilizes delicate harmonies and lush chord progressions, using a modern voice both motivated by, and improving upon, a nostalgic sound. Fjortoft claims songwriting was a skill she developed through "emotional necessity". Combining this with the challenge of the recording session for this record, and you have truly powerful performances preserved in analog glory.  "I feel like it made the songs come out with a little for feeling and rawness," Fjortoft admits.

Capturing that lightning in a bottle is exactly what lead guitarist and album producer DJ O'loane set out to achieve. "I like the immediacy of capturing a moment in time and having to commit to it," O'loane says. Rich tape saturation and distortion can be heard throughout each track, creating beautiful, and sometimes haunting moments of musical energy. O'loane's guitar compositions add their own flavor to the nostalgia mix, ushering in tones of 90s alternative powerhouses like Built to Spill and the Pixies.

Bass player Dave Theisen lays down foundations of blues and Motown, while drummer Dalton Patton's delivers a rock & roll treatment - creating a rhythm section that manages to be familiar and fascinating at once. Patton's raw energy shines brightest on "Nightingale." Fjortoft's ghost-like vocals sending shivers down your spine as you find yourself cornered by a black-hat gang in a 70s spaghetti western. Suddenly Patton's jungle beat drops, and you're fleeing through the Colorado wilderness on the back of a wild mustang.

But it's not just Nightingale. The album in its entirety is truly a phantasmagoria of cinematic experiences. The ballad "Movies" makes you ready for your close up as the star of the silver screen. Opening track "Puddle" has you crowd surfing across a derelict dive-bar crowd, while "Delancey Street" takes you to a scenic drive through the streets of your childhood.

Much like the great records of the past, this one is best digested in one sitting. When finished you will find yourself enveloped a melancholy feeling. The same one you experience at the end of a beautiful movie that could have gone on for another hour, or on the drive back from a cabin upstate - that while disastrous - was a trip you and your friends will never forget.

And for those keeping track, the cat - Bigfoot - was found, and is safe at home with Dalton.