The world is a recording studio where people, places, and things become the instruments. Stuart Hyatt has spent the last decade recording these sounds and arranging them into uniquely site-responsive music. Working under the Field Works name, Hyatt has curated and produced work with a remarkable group of contributing artists, writers, and musicians. Albums are created in collaboration with scientists and released in conjunction with museum exhibitions, books, and site-based performances that investigate our complicated relationship with the natural world.
Live Field Works performances are uniquely constructed around each album. They are hybrid events combining scientific presentation, poetry, music, and film. Performance venues vary from traditional theatres and museums to more remote destinations, including caves, forests, and rivers. In 2022, Field Works will present an ambitious new album and book.
Metaphonics: The Complete Field Works Recordings is a sprawling anthology of site-responsive music, imagery, and original text, spanning 7 vinyl LPs and a hardbound book. Inspired by Stuart Hyatt’s audio ﬁeld recordings, musicians from around the world (Dan Deacon, Juana Molina, The Field, Eluvium, Pantha du Prince, Dntel, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Gazelle Twin, Visible Cloaks, The Album Leaf, Loscil, Matmos, Mary Lattimore, Lali Puna, Lusine, William Tyler, Nick Zammuto, Lullatone, Benoit Pioulard, Luke Abbott, Rafael Anton Irisarri and more) have contributed complex sonic narratives under the Field Works banner. Each album begins with Hyatt’s samples and soundscapes from a particular time and location, weaving them into musical phrases and ultimately into song cycles intended to give the listener a heightened and more nuanced sense of place. The companion book, Metaphonics, offers the listener context through original essays on acoustic ecology, human noise, and the aesthetics of our soundscape.
In 2020 Stuart Hyatt returns with another sonic wonder in the Field Works series, bringing the listener into truly uncharted acoustic territory. Ultrasonic is perhaps the ﬁrst-ever album to use the echolocations of bats as compositional source material. For this special album, Hyatt has assembled an extraordinary group of contributors: Eluvium, Christina Vantzou, Sarah Davachi, Ben Lukas Boysen, Machinefabriek, Mary Lattimore, Felicia Atkinson, Noveller, Chihei Hatakeyama, John Also Bennett, Kelly Moran, Taylor Deupree, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, Julien Marchal, and Player Piano.
The mystifying 9th album in the Field Works series, Cedars (2021) combines cosmic Americana with Western ambient and Middle Eastern influences. Delicate layers of pedal steel, banjo, oud, and hurdy-gurdy ﬂoat atop looping guitar drones to create a soothing, atmospheric chamber where folk and electronic music coalesce. Set to Arabic and English poetry, the song cycle examines some of Earth’s most iconic and ancient forests, revealing our complicated relationship with the natural world. For this special dual-language release, Field Works producer Stuart Hyatt has assembled a supergroup of musicians, poets, and artists. The album is narrated by Youmna Saba and H.C. McEntire. Instrumentalists include Marisa Anderson, Fadi Tabbal, Dena El Saffar, Danny Paul Grody, Bob Hoffnar, Tomás Lozano, Nathan Bowles, Alex Roldan, Youmna Saba, and Stuart Hyatt.
All the Field Works albums have been released by Temporary Residence LTD.
Artist photo by Anna Powell Denton.
“Hyatt’s Field Works series aims higher. He’s not just able to attract great artists: the themes he chooses and the field recordings he produces are strong enough to tie the work together. In this way, he continues to produce collections that have both artistic and social merit.” – Exclaim
“Stuart Hyatt’s overarching vision finds its perfect counterweight in an immensely talented and varied array of musicians.” – Folk Radio UK
“One of the most beautiful things you’ll hear this year…blurring and uniting different strands in a shoegazey, eternal cosmos of delicious and humanistic sound.” – Backseat Mafia
“A gorgeous blend of pedal-steel and fiddle-driven ambient Americana suffused with influences from Lebanon and the Middle East…Absolutely enchanting.” 5/5 – Narc Magazine
“an incredible musical experience that deserves to disconnect from the everyday to better lose ourselves in the depths of our memories.” – Les Oreilles Curieuses
“The best use of poetry in music I’ve heard for many years. Cedars works on so many levels but it is also just great music. Enjoy the journey.” – Higher Plain Music
“Organically connecting Western and Middle Eastern musical traditions, and offering keen reflections on how we treat our world, Cedars is an album worth many returns.” – Indy Week
“Like Ry Cooder scoring a tender-hearted indie flick” 8/10 – Uncut Magazine