Hypnagogue Music Reviews

Red Sky Lullaby, Very Own Special Day

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Things get pretty diverse on Red Sky Lullaby’s Very Own Special Day, but they also manage to keep a fairly steady groove. Producer Stuart Kilbride tags his work as chilled electronica, which it is, but that doesn’t capture the depth of detail and the wide library of sounds and styles he’s pulling from. While not everything is spot on, there’s a lot of goodness to dip into. The title track opens the album with 12 minutes of shifts in tone and style, but keeps a kind of throwback synth-pop feel for most of its run. I keep getting mental images of early Tears for Fears, especially around the five-minute mark. The last stretch of the track comes on as a chugging construct heavy on piano and muted string pads. “Red Sky Mining” comes off like an electronic harpsichord sonata, a bouncy analog feel as sequencer lines snap across the space. “Simian Harmonies” is a cool, loping piece that builds off of a well-chilled bass line. Wavering pads, sudden spikes of sound, and tapping percussion surround the bass, carving out the piece’s environment. At the end, things get quite laid back with “Before the After.” Kilbride floats this one in on quiet pads, then lays in a smoky sax line that should tap your Pink Floyd recognition center. Or at the very least, that part of you that’s not afraid to admit you’re okay with smooth jazz. A solid closer. The only parts that get a bit of a shrug from me are a couple of the shorter pieces, “Moonrise” and “Lushness,” which both run about 90 seconds. They neither add nor detract from the flow all that much, and as such feel a bit like throwaways. Of the two, “Lushness” works better, an arrangement of echoing and recrossing keyboard lines and pads that melt into a title-appropriate texture.

Very Own Special Day is a pleasant set of diverse pieces that, for me, is best suited to be folded into a mix. Nothing particularly stands out as knock-me-over great, but over the time I’ve had this in my library, solo tracks in a shuffle have definitely caught my attention. Kilbride seems to wrap much of his production in a sort of light haze; there’s generally a barely noticeable muted-ness to the pieces, but it comes over like a signature rather than an issue. All in all, an enjoyable ride from Red Sky Lullaby.

Available from Bandcamp.

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