Sonic Curiosity Logo

Instrumental Music: Deep Sky Divers, Miles MacMillan, Thy Veils

decorative rule

DEEP SKY DIVERS: The New Fast Lane (CD on Deep Sky Divers)

This release from 2003 features 60 minutes of chilled out ambience.

The Deep Sky Divers are: Jon Short (who has contributed bass and cello to the works of Pulp and Neil Finn) and David Jones.

This band displays inventive creativity in mixing conventional instruments with electronics to produce delicate soundscapes that blur the boundaries between new age and chill out. Soft strings and even softer rhythms conspire with cloudlike textures, generating quite pleasant melodies. Quasi-progrock reeds undulate through the tunes, evoking Scottish highlands and the daring aspirations of longlost heroes. Keyboards twinkle like distant rainfall, masked by a haze of sighing synthesizers. Other times, languid piano chords usher the listener into a verdant firmament of glorious vantage, an approximation of stratospheric heights through buoyant tonalities that examine the ambitions of clouds as well as their visual spectacle.

The compositions are tender and lilting. The melodies hold much more than simple contemplative power, they superbly capture the dazed feel of high altitudes and infusing such oxygen deprivation with a sonic fuel that energizes the spirit while relaxing the body.

This "new fast lane" examined by the band exists as a state of mind, a stepping down of physical velocity, exchanging external speed for cerebral introspection.

decorative rule

MILES MacMILLAN: Alienated (CD on Miles Music)

This CD from 2003 offers 43 minutes of lively electronic music

Canadian musician MacMillan has quite a peppy style, mixing frolicsome keyboards with mechanoid E-perc to generate compositions that are all in an outer space vein. In fact, MacMillan cites that this album is "a soundtrack to an imaginary sci-fi film, in which a member of an unnamed alien cult locks himself into an isolation chamber in preparation for a visitation by alien beings."

Numerous layers of melodic keyboards intertwine to produce compelling riffs that cavort through the audience's head with elegant abandon. Uptempo synthetic percussion adds an agreeable presence to the music, infusing pleasant rhythms to the soaring harmonics. The electronics employ a versatile palette, ranging from densely clustered bass tones to exuberant high-end expressions that slice through the clouds like glowing blades. Heavenly textures coexist with earthy resonance, giving the tunes a delicate-yet-vibrant demeanor.

The melodies are bouncy and friendly. A strong dance factor exists in tandem with this music's electronic grandeur, tickling the feet as it engages the mind. While MacMillan explores "alienation", his music achieves a grounding effect, reattaching mankind to its mental roots through these fanciful flights.

decorative rule

THY VEILS: The Diaphanous Depressions (CD on Nonnut Muzik)

This release from 2001 features 56 minutes of atmospheric electronic music.

Romanian composer Thy Veils (aka Daniel Dorobantu) delivers an engaging selection of ethereal soundscapes, most of which are brief and succinct, evoking haunting moods with a mixture of electronics and environmental sources.

Luxurious electronic passages unfurl slowly, hanging in the air like a gathering fog and eventually parting to reveal substantial embellishment. Muffled percussives and insectoid rattlings punctuate the textural flow, often establishing an ominous mood wrought with anticipatory tension. Delicate keyboards add body to these atmospheric pastiches, injecting a touch of optimism to the melancholy. Cathedral bells produce a gothic flavor to some of the compositions, a taste that becomes more apparent with the sobering disposition of the keyboards and heavenly choral arrangements employed in these songs.

Classical undertones merge with ambient sensibilities, distributing a sedate majesty to these gloomy pieces. A taste of chamber music frequently can be sensed lurking in the enigmatic mix.

In all fairness, several other instruments appear throughout the tracks: oboe, guitar, flute, and more. These instances tend to nicely flesh out Veils' versatile keyboards, whether they be high-winded calliopes or murmuring church organs.

There is a fairly balanced mixture of angst and introspection exhibited by these compositions. The "depressions" referred to in the CD's title become a basic foundation of consciousness, from which point Veils explores a variety of emotional directions. Excursions into despairing depths are counterpointed by ambient surveys of the starry skies, as well as glimpses of dark wooded pursuits, forming a well-rounded series of empathic sonic states. Despite his predilection for gloom, Veils has hidden an angelic presence in these distraught compositions that hints at potentially inevitable solutions for earthly distress.

decorative rule
Entire page © 2003 Matt Howarth.
All rights reserved.
Webpage design by Stasy