VA: Sky Diary Edits
Zymogen / 12rec.

Atmospheric ambient electronica of the subtlest kind, Sky Diary Edits re-works a five-song 2006 EP by Fred Baty aka Crepusculum (Latin for ‘sundown') into a dozen variations by a coterie of electronic artists. The original release, Sky Diaries, largely features acoustic music composed with a guitar and some electronic enhancements (available, incidentally, as a free download at the 12rec. site); the new versions, predictably, expand upon that formula with less restrictive arrangements.

Differences in artistic temperament and approach are camouflaged by seamless transitions that bridge one piece to the next; consequently, ambient sections naturally merge with song-styled treatments. Slivers of guitar fireworks generate subtle hues in Letna's “Les Couleurs” that flow into Alexandre Navarro's gently flickering “Visage” and the robust folktronica of Engine7's “Anachronism (Twilight Mix).” The lovely Rhodes melody in Alexandr Vatagin's “End of the Community” re-appears elsewhere, acting like a leitmotif to help unify the album, while the shimmering acoustic loops of Koutaro Fukui's “Sakura” could pass for a Steve Reich homage. Deftly sustaining a marvelously controlled mood throughout, Klotzsch & Sudermann sculpt eleven evocative minutes of delicate, glistening atmosphere in “Missing Sheep,” after which Marsen Jules brings the collection to a graceful close with the hypnotic lull of “A Sheltered Life Reprise.” Though most of the contributors' names will be largely unfamiliar outside of a small, close-knit community, the quality of the material is certainly credible enough, if sometimes somewhat unassuming in character.

November 2007