Sometimes it’s hard to know in these times whether you want to listen to music that reflects the world around you or allows you to escape from it – Another Sky and their latest release, Music For Winter, allows you to do both.
Released on the first day of 2021, Music for Winter Vol. 1 is a melancholy, grounded EP that reflects the seasonal and pandemic-related changes in great depth – whilst also creating timeless sound worlds of escape. Following their debut album I Slept On The Floor, this release presents six tracks that boast timbral maturity, exploring a range of sonorities and soundscapes through subtle textural layering and sparse, raw lyricism.
Another Sky use a formula of slow-moving lyricism, harmonies and gradual textural layering that is utilised across all six tracks. Listening to the whole EP, or even just one song, a sense of temporal fluidity is created through this intelligent elongation of musical elements, creating sombre sonorities on top of which the lyrics can swim around freely.
The individual tracks have a real sense of direction and narrative, to the extent that you feel as though you have gone on a long journey over the course of three minutes. Notably, in Pieces and Sun Seeker, both start with quiet, sparse textures and build so gradually and naturally into a densely cacophonous soundscape that one barely notices it happening, after which this drops away and returns to sparseness; serving as a reminder of how fleeting such events can be.
The range of contrasting timbres and sonorities on this album are particularly poignant. Leaving The Lighthouse utilises soft, blurred timbres, whereas Blood Love contrasts raw dry percussion sonorities against cinematic swelling for a more complex timbral tapestry. In both cases, this creates a sense of submersion in the sound worlds, evoking sentiments of temporal fluidity pervading the individual tracks and the EP as a whole.
The influences Another Sky let loose on Music For Winter range from the heavy topic of experiencing homophobia from a loved one (Pieces) to the death of a plant (Was I Unkind?). The subject of the latter, however, is expanded to talk about wider sentiments, through lines such as “Do I know I’ve grown because I was given love?/Maybe unwatered things sometimes have no choice but to die”.
Moreover, the simple imagery and language is, at times, heartbreaking. The haunting image of the line “A solitary angel grew on my windowsill/I’ve never seen something so alive, stay so still” will definitely be imprinted on my mind over the next few weeks of lockdown.
Photo Credit: Ella Brolly