Two years ago, I discovered one of most innovative guitarists thanks to the MoonJune label. His name is Mark Wingfield. After being on his incredible journey with Proof of Light, The Stone House, and Lighthouse, his collaborations with Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, and Yaron Stavi, Wingfield himself has returned again this year with the release of his new album, Tales from the Dreaming City.
Recorded two years ago at La Casa Murade in Banyeres del Penedes, Spain in February, gives Wingfield more creative freedom and essential textures by providing more ideas to the table. He’s more than just a guitar player, but one of those artists to take a leap forward beyond the progressive and jazz genre.
With bassist Yaron Stavi, drummer Asaf Sirkis, and guest keyboardist Dominique Vantomme, Mark is like a painter and gives the listener these background images on what he’s painted through the ten tracks on his new album. It’s like these stories from various timeframes and the music itself is atmospheric, mysterious, and melodic. What Mark Wingfield has done is to bring these ideas to let the flowers grow brighter and brighter.
Listening to Tales from the Dreaming City is like opening a book set through these structures by telling a story and understanding the characteristics and locational background through each of their lives. And Wingfield sets it beautifully by creating this alternate film score. I can hear the inspirations between Allan Holdsworth’s SynthAxe and Terje Rypdal through Mark’s arrangements.
It’s not Mark playing like them, but tipping his hat off to the two masters and carrying their Olympic torches and seeing what will happen next. I can imagine Wingfield took inspirations of the authors between Ernest Hemingway, Kurt Vonnegut Jr, Mark Twain, Phillip K. Dick, and Jack Kerouac.
I loved how he goes into some of the aspects of the ambient and the Canterbury influences from The Way to Hemingford Grey before driving into the dark tunnels to the smooth warm cup of coffee by starting the morning off at the Sunlight Café. Sirkis goes into some drum exercises on the track before they head inside the mind of Dwayne Hoover’s mental breakdown from the 1973 book, Breakfast of Champions.
The spiraling late ‘60s melodic structures between Wingfield and Stavi going up the spiral staircase up to the views of Heaven’s skyscraper as it reminisces of Seventh Wave’s Star Palace of the Sombre Warrior on the Ten Mile Bank. When I listened to The Green-Faced Timekeepers which features Sirkis’ scatting at the end of the composition, it brought back a memory for me as a kid hearing the Dungeon Theme from the Nintendo classic, The Legend of Zelda.
I can imagine one of these days Mark Wingfield would do a score for a video game and it did reminded me of that. And part of me was thinking to myself listening to the final track, “Is Mark scoring for a game? Because if he is, it would be something.” Now for me, Tales from the Dreaming City as I’ve mentioned earlier, is an opened book. And it’s discovering what Wingfield himself to bring these conceptual textures to the coffee table. It’s quite an interesting experience and I hope he will do more to see what will come up with next.