On their Southwest tour earlier this year, between stops in Phoenix and Three Points, Arizona, Halcyonaire ventured into the Anza-Borrego Desert to collect field recordings for the first ever SOUNDINGS session. Developed by the band, Chris Damien, Brandt Burgess, Geoff Saba, Joel Davidson — four artists interested in the connection between musicians and their environments — SOUNDINGS are multi-media productions that include not only musicians, but also filmmakers, photographers and other artists looking to explore and document the mutually beneficial relationship between song and place.

Setting the blueprint for SOUNDINGS expeditions, Halcyonaire traveled to the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in the great Sonoran Desert, where they spent their days and nights recording and filming video footage. They returned to their Fruitvale studio with raw tracks, added familiar ingredients of Americana, country and soul into the mix, and emerged with the first single off of their forthcoming EP, “Star Eyes,” a song we are proud to premiere right here on The Bay Bridged.

Produced by guitarist Geoff Saba at his own Itinerant Home studios, “Star Eyes” is an amalgamation of the band’s urban studio setting and the bare terrain of the desert. The miles of extra effort poured into the recording are clear in the subtle varieties of the guitar strokes — buzzing during the verse, patient in the chorus and anxious in the post chorus – and the indecipherable flourishes (maybe from a recorder?).

While the song itself is a solid end to justify the means, it is one piece of the greater production. Check out the mini-documentary about the expedition below and head over to the official SOUNDINGS website to listen to the interactive Anza-Borrego Desert field recordings and learn more about the project. If you dig the audio/visual material, head over to Halyconaire’s bandcamp page and download “Star Eyes” for free or a donation of your choice. All proceeds will go towards the next SOUNDINGS session, so help out if you can! The band plans to hold sessions with other like-minded artists, and they have their eyes set on North Baja and the banks of the Colorado River. Imagine the sound of running water, rushing towards the ocean, and a backbeat kicks in…