Jon Porras' second solo effort under his own name, as opposed to the Elm title on a slew of other releases, finds the Barn Owl stalwart as engaging and capable as his bandmate Evan Caminiti when it comes to extending the atmospheric and varied experimentation of his core duo without specifically replicating it. The seven instrumentals here all match the cover art and title nicely, suggestive of an American West of the mind where both time and potential sources of style all collapse into a series of intriguing sonic sculptures. Core, though, to most of the album is how nearly every song goes one way and then moves to another approach, creating a sense of evolution instead of one monolithic approach after another. It's a lovely way to hint at both Porras' and Barn Owl's essentially exploratory approach while again carving a distinct path. Black Mesa ranges from the distant, almost calm start of "Candlelight Mirage" to the metallic drone-scrape evident on the concluding "Beyond the Veil," while an overall air of stateliness and ritualistic progression suffuses the collection. Quieter moments like "Desert Flight" and "Embers at Dusk" further flesh out the encompassing and involving release.