Vivid Low Sky

Music for Movies Unmade

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As the title makes clear, this is music designed to create a cinematic soundtrack quality, albeit with a grittier alternative rock sensibility than most of the instrumental musicians working along those lines. In that respect, Vivid Low Sky don't have much company -- Friends of Dean Martinez and Scenic are about the only others of note. Both of those bands come from Arizona, and some of this album has that camera-sweeping-over-blank-vistas feel that you associate with their approach, though in fact Vivid Low Sky hail from Chapel Hill, NC. Despite those ready points of comparison, though, Vivid Low Sky don't sound terribly derivative. It's tough and fairly catchy instrumental rock that has a little post-punk edginess, but not that much dissonance -- which is a good thing. Sometimes it sounds like a somewhat less jarring take on the surfadelic instrumentals that Savage Republic (whose guitarist Bruce Licher went on to Scenic) used to do in the '80s. Chief guitarist and composer David Koslowski is adept at both slightly grungy, angry textures, and spacier, contemplative ones with swooping, sliding punctuations. Unusually for this genre, and for post-punk as a whole, he's also good at contrasting them against each other, sometimes in the same song (as in "Can I Touch Yr Soul"). Indeed, he's quite good at varying moods and melodic ideas from song to song throughout the album, a feat that's pretty elusive at the turn of the century in alternative rock, whether you're singing or not. This is good offbeat background mood music, if it was intended as such, but can also serve as pretty decent foreground listening as well.

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