Low In The Sky
Akron, Ohio’s Low in the Sky succeed in the electronic/instrumental hip-hop realm because they aren’t trying to be groundbreaking, and they have no inclination to do so. Dear Birds boasts no thematic threads, maverick home studio fuckery, big name guests or cinematic intros, outros or segues. There’s not a gimmick to be found here — it’s just a collection of twelve four minute songs that exist as ends unto themselves, and though its premise is none too exhilarating, its results are — and then some.
Low in the Sky cover a remarkable amount of ground, both stylistic and emotional, over the album’s course. Despite the fact that pretty much any of these beats would work well behind an MC, the group frequently accompanies them with rock trappings. “Are You Right Here?” lives by a whirling slack rock guitar lead that summons an entire decade worth of alterna-giants, from Smashing Pumpkins to Mogwai, and the title track also stomps on the distortion pedal, climaxing with a gorgeous melody that could out-emote and overpower Explosions in the Sky any day. Cleaner, folkier guitars form closer “At the Source of the Longest River“‘s meditative core. “Cool Sanson“‘s jazzy interludes, “The Cowboy Natural“‘s downtown funk and “Go Federal“‘s spacious crackling vinyl drum track contrast the other songs’ rock sensibilities and prove that this isn’t just another case of guitars doing battle with samples.
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