You're in for a rough time should you desire to pin progressive guitarist Mark Wingfield down. A risingly distinctive axehandler once dwelling on the fringes of the music world, his most striking work has been heard in solo recordings and then with other unorthodox players like Kevin Kastning (here), Robert Mitchell, Iain Bellamy, and so on. However, no one this iconoclastic long remains a cipher, and so Peter Gabriel, Todd Rundgren, Tricky, Elliott Randall, and a number of stalwarts have been calling upon his services as well. Sonic omnivores will note a wealth of influences—Abercrombie, Metheny, Fripp, Towner, Goodsall, etc.—in Wingfield's stylings and I agree with them, but I find his work as striking as Nels Cline's once was, especially round the latter's Silencer period.
Proof of Light marks Wingfield's debut on the MoonJune label, a very apt home, alongside bassist Yaron Stavi, whose work is largely misty and mysterious, environmental, and drummer Asaf Sirkis, who provides an abundance of accentuations and emphatics. Through those two gentlemen, Wingfield's highly liquid sound finds it landmarks and pathways in spacious but directed climes. I suppose one could point out various songs and their virtues, but I'm not going to be the one to do so because I much prefer luxuriating in the non-stop outré atmospherics from one end of the 53-minute disc to the other.
Okay, okay, I give! Quit twisting my arm! Voltaic, after a series of winding worm holes through God only knows where, true to its name suddenly erupts with an awfully damned crunchy lead-in, then waxes Brand X vapory, next Frippnutz spacey, later Quarkspace fragmented, Neal Schon (circa Caravaserai) schizo-cosmic, and all that, but, really, for my money, Proof is a many times folded journey, a hallucinogenic trip, a pilgrimage for a footloose monk, a psychedelic fusiony keening arc with no embarkation point, zero scheduled stops, and a conductor who long ago jumped ship. That is, it's an alternating hurtle and slo-ride through star clusters, magmic deeps, glittering dimensions, and guttering ebon-fields, as much to be epidermally felt as eustachianly apprehended.
This is cause for neither Gothic despair nor Night Gallery apprehension as there is eternally present a stir of energy and spirit that persists as the looping narrative continues, a lurking thrilling of some deep recess in the participant that's neither heart not lungs nor soul, whatever the hell that last one might be, but instead a…a…a…
…well, I wouldn't presume to put a name to it, that transdimensional organomorphic resonance, but you might be able to. All you'll need is a dark room, a glass of brandy, maybe a kindred spirit or two for accompaniment (but probably not), and then a willingness to let go like you did back in the 70s before you became a corporate drone in a hellish capitalism headed to an overly tropic destination in that fancily appointed handbasket the company provided in lieu of pension. Like Alice, you have to face the Jungian underside at some point, you know, and I can't think of a better way than through this sort of event. Just don your best Cheshire grin, let glow those bleary ocularities above your nose, and disappear into the flowline. You'll be the better for it, even if that smile gets more wolfish with each listen and the neighbors wonder what unearthly rites are being conducted, eyeing you nervously.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2015, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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