Electronic Music, Writing, and Reviews

"Altocumulus" is my artist name for electronic music, ambient, and my writing about experimental music and related subjects.

Sun, 24 Apr, 2011

OCEAN POETRY by "Above the Skyline"

"Above the Skyline" is a music-making partnership between Kris Tilbury, a multi-talented artist and vocalist in northern Louisiana, and Bruno Duarte, an instrumentalist currently living in Norway. It is a modern collaboration which has only been made possible by the modern marvels of Internet sound transmission. Well, I suppose that it might have been possible back in the days of cassettes and analog sound mixing, but it would have taken a lot longer and would have been annoyingly inconvenient. Tilbury and Duarte have never personally met, but their music sounds perfectly melded together as if they lived next door to each other.

If you are a "Dead Can Dance" fan, or a "Falling You" fan, this album is just for you. Kris Tilbury provides ethereal vocals, usually in a somewhat somber (but not "Gothic") minor key. She also plays harp on some tracks, while Bruno Duarte's contribution is purely instrumental using piano, percussion and synths. If you like the famous Lisa Gerrard's singing, you will like Kris Tilbury's contemplative soprano vocal lines, which are reminiscent of Gerrard but without the pretentiousness or the pagan-ritual styling. There is a spooky element to "Above the Skyline's" sound, especially in track 4, "The Crossing." Tilbury knows how to call out like a siren, with wordless vocals against sounds of thunder.

There is a constant debate among ambient fans over whether something with "beats" i.e. rhythmic sound, is "true ambient." I think this discussion is ultimately pointless but I must say that "Above the Skyline's" tracks all have a regular, easy-to-follow rhythm in a "chill" sense, that is, it is not fast techno dance music but has a slower, trancey quality which I think is perfectly appropriate for ambient with a beat. There is also one track with spoken word, the namesake "Ocean Poetry", which features Kris Tilbury reciting one of her own poems. It's a lovely piece, accompanied with a sparkling tapestry of Duarte's synth tones and Tilbury's humming, but I really wish that they had brought the spoken word up in the mix so that I could hear the words clearly. In general this is an enchanting album full of a sense of wonder and a relaxing atmosphere which is an excellent start to what I hope is a promising musical partnership.

Altocumulus 4/24/2011

Posted at 8:26 pm | link