Birds, creeks, thunder — nature sounds have always been important among Steve Targo’s Inner Travels releases. Targo often uses synthesizers to replicate wildlife songs in his music, framed with his own field recordings. On Nature Spirit, the tenth Inner Travels full-length, he pays more attention to the world outside his window and less to the electronics.
The sounds of the environment are as much “songs” as the three musical works on the album. They unfold in the style of most Inner Travels music — no beginning, no end, each layer of texture revealing more and more with each listen. Those layers were engineered into the environmental passages of Nature Spirit. Targo mixed different tracks from his own library of field recordings, so that one can hear birdsongs, for example, during a thunderstorm.
Between the environmental passages are music made from mostly digital earth tones, with the Yamaha Reface CP supplying the album’s Rhodes and piano sounds. Synthesizers add to the palate of each piece without dominating it. For “Calm After the Storm,” Targo played two different singing bowls, then improvised keyboard passages over them.