outer sky – a closer listen

When considering Outer Sky in connection to its companion Inner Sky (reviewed here earlier this year), one might ask, “Why weren’t these combined as one album?” The answer becomes apparent within the opening seconds of the new 19-minute EP. Inner Sky and Outer Sky are two distinct recordings that operate as mirror images; they would have difficulty sharing the same sandbox. While each is based on field recordings, Inner Sky is dominated by Gianluca Favaron‘s percussive electronics, and Outer Sky is much more organic. Electronics still play a part, but this time around, the sound sources are often easy to identify, beginning with the opening traffic and the click of a woman’s heels.

Perhaps the outer sky is that which is apparent, while the inner sky is that which is imagined or implied. The two are not mutually exclusive, but in this case, they are complimentary; and Favaron’s willingness to change style so thoroughly is a sign of artistic maturity. This allows the listener to hear some extremely effective sounds: the opening section, repeated mid-piece, is followed by the rushes of an active highway. Machinery rumbles then rise to the fore, pursued by crackle and segmented melody: a two-note bell motif that gracefully recedes into the aether.

Whenever electronics are added, they augment the organic sources without supplanting them. By the third time the opening sample appears, the entire context has been changed. Now the listener has been freed to ask larger questions: If I recall a memory in different circumstances, is is still the same memory, or is it altered by the context of recall? Does the art of observation change the outer sky to an inner sky? Which is truer: the first impression, or the later interpretation? Favaron’s experiments may not provide the answers, but they create the conversation. [Richard Allen]