ALBUM REVIEW - Sky Flying By - (Re) Routed - Post Image - (300x300)ARTIST: Sky Flying By 

RELEASE: (Re) Routed

RELEASE DATE: October 26th 2018

RECORD COMPANY: Fluttery Records 

‘(Re) Routed’ is the latest studio album by the Boston-based post-rock/drone/cinematic aficionado David Palmer aka ‘Sky Flying By’. It contains upwards of eight generally, moving, ambient post-rock instrumentals tied together by absolutely stellar, clean production. Violins and other varied string instruments, buzzing electronic noises, guitars and other instruments combine to create soft sonic texturing and backing soundscapes; all released by the well-loved LA-based independent record label ‘Fluttery Records’. The album was officially released back on October 26th 2018 and is available to buy/download right now via sky-flying-by.bandcamp.com

‘(Re) Routed’ opens with the gentle sway of strings over a minimalistic piano line. Immediately, the listener makes correlations between Sky Flying By and what could be safely coined ‘film soundtracks. This song, titled ‘A Thousand Miles of Everything’, continues along maintaining the consistent level of minimalist piano, introducing complimentary and bring bell sounds as well as the bang of a drum. The entire piece eventually evolves into the continued piano line and varied instruments accompanying the beat of the drums. An electronic interlude of sorts is introduced later in the track. ‘Forgetting Sky’ takes the conceptual elements of a film score and amplifies them ten fold; half the track is the sparse (yet beautiful) sound of various stringed instruments playing cinematic swells and emotionally raw soundscapes. The ending, which is especially great, brings together electronic programming and strings in a compelling and rewarding way. ‘Keep the Weather Eye Open’ is the first track (I think?) on the album to include guitar (albeit minimalistic guitar passages). Here, more traditional rock instrumentation can be found alongside the stringed instruments of previous tracks and, of course, that tinkering piano sound. ‘Completely Lost’ takes this further, maintain the steady rattle of the drums as well as the noticeable presence of guitar. An album highlight, the true beauty of ‘Completely Lost’ hides in the vast electronic sweeps and bizarre buzzing soundscapes in the tracks backing. David Palmer should be complimented on his skill of melding both electronic and acoustic instrumentation together smoothly, and ultimately, beautifully.

‘The Dream of a Promised Fulfilled’ starts darkly, oozing with soft strings that conjure images of wide and perhaps empty landscapes. The song continues much the same, occasionally introducing the hum of synthesizers and electronic soundscapes in the background to add texture to the song as a whole. ‘The Road Ends Where the Sea Begins’ with its marching rhythm and guitar plucking, is certainly one of the album highlights on the latter half of the release. Its eventual unfolding into a sound that truly showcases unity within the instrumentation (drums, guitar, strings and more) reflects upon Palmers talent of melding together sounds. ‘When the Clouds Clear, We’re Gone’ lightens up things while retaining elements found within other tracks. The transitions between passages are adequately held together by the beat of a drum (and at one point some soothly vocal chanting), yet comfortably seem to be distinctly different from one another. The closing sections snare rattle based beat is the strongest of the songs varied passages. ‘Wind Unwind’, almost an interlude, is essentially another drum-orientated rhythmic track wherein strings other electronic elements patter along in a minimalist fashion.

‘You Were Right, Again’ returns to the string-orientated passages of previous songs on the album, yet for sounds much more downtrodden than the bands other soundscape based tunes. The song even winds down into being completely string based, relying on the texturing of music that sounds like a crossover between classical and more film composition, The second half especially showcases a true beauty that can be achieved with string based music. Despite this turn, ‘Stopping for the Breaking Waves’ switches again to a completely rock based instrumentation setup and a much more linear post-rock sound. Guitar and drums play away with the occasional hum of a piano; the eventual unloading of strings in the songs second half make for a more epic backing to the track as well.

‘(Re) Routed’ certainly has many positives: the stellar production, the precision of the performances as well as the high quality of the assorted soundscapes and the songs. Yet to be honest, writing a full, track by track review of this album was increasingly difficult. After the first few songs you sort of well… get it. Most of the songs (with the exception of a few) sound very similar: there’s the violin swells, the passages that sound like they could be a film soundtrack, the mildly pretentious names, the sort of ‘okay, we get it’ sections where Palmer tries to do the minimalist thing over and over and so forth and so on. I can understand why this appeals to some listeners, but yours truly got to around the fifth track and sort of wandered off into other thoughts. The overly cinematic tinges and extremely polished production leave little room for anything truly ‘organic’ to come over. Because of this, I really struggled with forming an emotional connection to many of the tracks. Bands like Sigur Ros have toyed with these notions of post-rock; the stringed instruments, the touches of electronic instrumentation and the overall special aspects that can be found on (Re) Routed. Except, Sigur Ros carefully experimented and pushed forth on almost every track they made, making their songs sound as though an art orchestra was trying to render electronic music into something viably acoustic. It was this unique method that gave their songs such emotionally originality. Here, Sky Flying By seem to be less interested in incorporating or considering those facts within the music. Truthfully, they seem more interested in making something that could be picked up and used on a film score… and that is very much okay. I had to be honest about those things, and many will be confused about such statements when, on the surface, this album is so beautiful and professionally put together. That’s not to say there isn’t amazing passages, sections and songs held within, because there are. In these passages, the production, writing and performance come together to promote the purity and precision of the bands sweeping yet gentle sound.

3/5

LINKS:

sky-flying-by.bandcamp.com

flutteryrecords.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Cam Phillips - Contributing Writer

Cam Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on Baeble Music and Culture (USA), Sounds and Colours Magazine (Latin America, London), Easterndaze (Latvia) and the Australian-based heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.