Evan Caminiti, who also makes music in a band by the name of Barn Owl, has created this year’s ultimate must-have recording. Not “one of.” This is required listening/experiencing/loving/living/dying music. Not only is it stunningly beautiful, but it’s also the most viscerally visual. West Winds is violent landscapes, soaring eagles, burrowing wildlife, all represented in monstrously crunchy guitar feedback and humbling synthetic rumbles. The album is possibly the most cinematic musical effort in recent memory, as listening invokes wide-open, windy desert Western scenes or oceans majestically crashing beneath high cliffs. Individual chords drop with titanic splashes into colorful seas of drone. The sun beats these pieces into grainy plains of scorched-earth while a lone character, generally a sensually direct plucked guitar, wanders these environments in composed, tortured anguish. This is dark without ever being menacing, grim without being depressing. Caminiti packs a range of emotive responses into singularly packaged, easily manageable works that arrive fully realized and rich with a voluminous girth that remains spacious and malleable.
West Winds is also a body. It’s Caminiti’s body found standing alone within a meditative, hallucinogenic vision of nature’s endless beauty, and crossing over into the cosmic outer-reaches of consciousness. Caminiti seems to be truly, wholly inside this, his skills tempered, his mind focused, and his spirit soaring, exploding out with tremendous power. But listening to West Winds makes it your body, too. With eyes closed, steady breathing and an open heart, becoming one with the sounds of Caminiti is a but a simple task: just hit play. Oh yeah… headphones required. Naturally.