Fordham Wilkes | Hear Cape Cod, Vol. 2: Upstream

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Hear Cape Cod, Vol. 2: Upstream

by Fordham Wilkes

Fordham Wilkes is the indie pop duo of electronic percussionist, former Blue Man Group member, Steve Wilkes and vocalist Ginny Fordham.
Genre: Pop: Ambient Pop
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Gates of Summer
4:22 $0.99
2. The Language of Birds
4:50 $0.99
3. Gp Road Resonator
4:42 $0.99
4. Dive Down
3:14 $0.99
5. Upstream
4:12 $0.99
6. June
2:26 $0.99
7. Shifting Sand
5:56 $0.99
8. Fog
3:04 $0.99
9. The Message
4:15 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Hear Cape Cod Volume Two, Upstream, is a companion CD to Hear Cape Cod Volume One, Soundsignals. Pursuing his effort to create an audio time capsule of Cape Cod, former Blue Man Group drummer Steve Wilkes spent two years recording the indigenous sounds of the Cape. He and vocalist Ginny Fordham then created a song cycle inspired by and incorporating many of the field recordings. These songs comprise the tracks on Upstream. "Gates of Summer," a song celebrating the summer solstice, features the birdsong of a Cape Cod morning and the crickets of that evening. "Dive Down" includes the voice of the Woods Hole Science Aquarium's loquacious harbor seal, LuSeal, while "The Message" includes Morse Code recorded in Chatham. Upstream evokes and celebrates the sonic environment of time well-spent on Cape Cod.

Review of Hear Cape Cod Volume Two – Upstream by Fordham Wilkes – #HCC002
Recordings mastered by Taylor Deupree at 12k Mastering

Since the middle of 2011, Berklee College of Music professor, percussionist and Blue Man Group alum, Steve Wilkes has been working on a project to capture the sounds of Cape Cod over a year and to map those sounds as an aural history of the region (the far eastern end of Massachusetts in the northeastern United States). The project was funded in part by the Newbury Comics Faculty Fellowship. The region has undergone many environmental and man-made changes, from rising sea levels and coastal erosion to residential development. It was Wilkes’ feeling that the region is measured and analyzed in many ways (like bird population counts, temperature and sea levels), but there was yet to be a base-line environmental sound analysis examining animal, environmental and cultural activity in the region.

At this point, the project consists of 3 CDs: 1, a collection of regional sounds; 2, the sounds remixed by a number of musicians who will be familiar to many, and 3, a song-cycle inspired by the region at various times throughout the year (which also incorporates many of the environmental sound recordings and the detailed credit links give an excellent overview of the variety on-location recordings). The album artwork evokes pleasant memories of worn edged blue-green beach-glass.

D 3 Upstream, is a song cycle by the duo Fordham Wilkes (Ginny Fordham: vocals, Steve Wilkes: drums with Crit Harmon: guitars and Keiichi Sugimoto: guitars) and is inspired by years of memories of time on Cape Cod and it is the most personal of the three discs. Fond recollections of places run deep for many and they have different effects on people. This is where the project transforms from being objective (CD 1) to the most reflective and personal (while avoiding sentimentality).

The album has a sense of welcoming and ease, enjoying summer breezes, wading in tidal pools, walking in sanctuaries or along beaches. There is no heavy foreboding or hand-wringing of what was or could be; the feeling is that of the now and hopefulness, and Ginny Fordham’s voice brings a relaxing calm to the album. Gates of Summer opens CD3 and is forms an instrumental and melodic transition from the last track of CD2. The Language of Birds plays rhythmically with a juxtaposition and syncopation of the instrumentation and avian field recordings.

The ever-present drone of automobile traffic is also a reality of summers on The Cape (whether passing over the Sagamore or Bourne bridges before necking down to Route 6 or at the half-way point to Provincetown, in Eastham) and these sounds are merged with fleeting views to salt marshes in the pensive GP Road Resonator. As in CD 1, there are songs of Land as well as Water, as in Dive Down and Upstream (as much a metaphor for returning to and rebirth of the area as it is the traffic on Route 6 that one is “swimming” against!).

CD 3 is also a reflection of CD 1’s A Year, The Cape in song over the course of a single circumnavigation of our Earth around the Sun. As the album progresses through the summer and into the end of a year (June, Shifting Sand and Fog) it grows more contemplative with the advancing of the calendar, melding dreams with reality. Each Spring many look forward the approaching time outside and then seemingly in the blink of an eye, Summer is over. The album closes with The Message, an inspiration left in a voicemail, which ultimately is the beacon announcing the sense of place of The Cape that inspired the HearCapeCod project.



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