Delorca and Turner of Wheels linked up their computers during this ongoing pandemic to collaborate remotely on an extended piece of music called “Misery Tourist.” The ebbs and flows of textures, melodies, moods and concepts take on a cinematic quality and convey a narrative about grief and empathy and the importance of creative work and experiences in times of crisis. The first part of “Misery Tourist” draws us in with sounds that take on the shapes of physical objects in our imagination, of streams running over rocks, wind in trees, clouds streaming overhead. When the vocals come in like a spirit its reminiscent of Everything But the Girl but commenting on a desolate world wracked by conflict, suffering, deprivation and neglect. One might say it’s about the pandemic but any honest person sensitive to the reality of the world knows how the pandemic highlighted already stressed and strained human social structures and relationships and the widespread destructive impact of human civilization as we’ve known it on the environment. The soaring vocals feel like they’ve taken on this pain and channeled it into a coherent expression that gives this gentle and fluid composition a cathartic aspect without downplaying our collective erosion of life nurturing existence unbolstered by a non-existent wise stewardship by most political entities on the planet. And yet it’s not a downer. It is merely melancholy and because of its natural and subtle forward momentum simulating life and the course of history outside of human impact there is a built in sense of hope for an unraveling of the deadlock somehow in ways we can’t predict. The title seems to imply that to address our maladies we must first look upon them honestly and dare not to be completely overwhelmed by the extent of the destruction but rather see it as an opportunity to act boldly and not get stuck in the stasis of the status quo that made it all possible and inevitable. Listen to “Misery Tourist (Part One)” on Bandcamp and connect with the artists at the links below.