Mirada, Vermillion Sky

I want to like this CD more than I do, and I say that because after a few listens I believe that Mark Heath, the man behind Mirada, has a lot more to say musically than he puts across here.

Vermillion Sky is a disc made for relaxation. It courses along mostly on rise-and-fall chords in the all-too-familiar swell/hold/release cadence. To that end, the disc is fine. With the exception of some excellent, almost proggish guitar work from Joe Greenwood on “Chasing the Lucent Twilight,” it’s quiet, soft and largely innocuous.

And therein lies the problem. Vermillion Sky could be more than it is, and better, if it wasn’t suffering from a thin-ness of sound. There’s no real layering going on, no depth upon depth, the stuff that creates motion and vibrancy in even the slowest ambient. For the majority of the disc it feels like one chord just follows another, hand up/hand down, fade into fade. I find it hard to invest in the CD as a listener largely because I want so much more from it–and to me it’s clear that the talent to give me that is in there. I hear it in the relative intricacy of “Evening Sun,” a beautifully woven drone piece that feels somehow fuller and more concentrated than anything else here. This is what I think Heath can do very well, and this is why I feel he’s got more to offer.

Will listening to Vermillion Sky relax you, as Heath intends? Probably. It has a soothing quality. But play it low and let it move quietly through your space. Focused listens only call out the shortcomings I hope Heath overcomes with his next release.

Available, with samples, at  CD Baby.

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