Bears Ears National Monument in Utah was established by President Barack Obama in 2016. It’s original size was 1.35 million acres.
In December 2017, it was announced that the Trump Administration would reduce the National Monument by 85% in size — over 1 million acres, opening new mineral and oil and gas leasing opportunities, easing drilling regulations, and rolling back habitat protections for endangered species.
This album, Vanishing Places, was written and recorded based on a series of field recordings I made there last spring. The idea behind the project was to travel into wild places currently at risk, record the soundscape, then turn those field recordings into fully realized compositions back in the studio.
I wanted to record the soundscape in Bears Ears National Monument before it was changed, so after a few months of planning I packed up my field recorders and flew out to the desert. I first captured the soundscape, then synthesized those field recordings in different ways back in the studio. Those recordings became the foundation for this record, even if they’re now unrecognizable.
With James Gadson on drums and Lars Horntveth on horns and keyboards.
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