Ryan Farish

From the Sky

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Composer Ryan Farish is heard most widely by those who consult The Weather Channel on a regular basis; his talents have also been utilized for in-house purposes by such major corporations as IBM and Sun Microsystems. These two facts may lead you to expect numbingly pleasant, utterly boring music with a professional sheen and a saccharin-sweet favor. You'd be only about one-third right. It's true that Farish's music is about as intellectually challenging as People magazine. But that's not to say that it's either boring or syrupy. Remember the Ramones: intellectually speaking, their music wasn't even up to People standards (it was more like The Weekly World News), but that doesn't mean their songs weren't spectacular. While Farish is no Joey Ramone, his ability to mix luscious, piano-driven chord progressions with funky breakbeats and faux-ethnic vocals (a vaguely African-sounding children's choir here, a vaguely Celtic-sounding female singer there) makes his most simplistic compositions both genuinely listenable and even, at times, downright fascinating. Not all of them, mind you -- "Legacy" is pretty embarrassing -- but many of them. Note the artfully wielded vocal samples on "Miles Away," for example, and the subtle trip-hop intimations in the gently swinging title track. Recommended to those who are embarrassed to admit that they like new age music.

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