Just as I’m boarding a plane to about as far away from home as I’ve ever been, I was given the opportunity to take a small part of home with me, in the form of this new release by the Belgian ‘Silenced’ netlabel: Great Skies. Actually, it’s not even been released yet, Silenced will drop this bomb on October 25th.
This release features 4 tracks that each represent a slightly different flavour of downtempo, with the second, ‘Breath in the Air’ being my absolute favourite.
All in all, the composition itself is nothing too daring, it stays well within defined boundaries of downtempo melodies carried by lush pads and soothing synth sounds. Stylistic variation is achieved through different types of drum beats. Not reinventing the wheel doesn’t have to be a bad thing though, as this downtempo formula has proven to be successful. I instantly liked the songs.
The production does have that typical netlabel feel, which is typically most audible in the drum track. Though I personally don’t mind my mids being just slightly muddy, and a drum track getting its charm from the actual rhythm instead of a sound that’s been produced to perfection, this isn’t true for everybody. In fact, now might be a good time to investigate the ‘netlabel sound’, something very audible in downtempo, trip hop or abstract hip hop released on creative commons licenses. In a few recent reviews production issues have popped up, and one could pose the question as to whether this ‘netlabel sound’ is a deliberate choice, reminiscent of 80′s and 90′s mixtape culture, or the result of many netlabel artists’ inexperience with high-end mixing and mastering. If it is the latter, that might pose a problem to netlabel culture being taken more seriously by the traditional musical establishment. Whatever the origin of the ‘netlabel sound’, it should only matter if you include intention in the definition of art. Many definitions of art do just that, but personally, I don’t think that should be the only definition.
If you like downtempo spiced with some nice beats, you should definitely check this release out. [SVB]
Great Skies – Breath in the Air
Deep link to the release page.