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SKY 2

Sky

 

Eclectic Prog

3.79 | 61 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Zac M
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars From my experience with Sky so far, I'd have to say that this is the album that comes closest to a masterpiece. While there are obviously a few flaws, this album is certainly a most excellent addition to anyone's collection, although it's probably important that they realize what they are getting into before buying the album. It seems, at least to me, that Sky is not a very popular band around this site, and that's a shame. People claim the music is easy listening instrumental music, but for some reason, I can't really hear that, maybe it's just me. Certainly, this album is of interest to the listener who enjoys rock music in a classical setting or should that be the other way around???

This sprawling double album (I only have the CD, which deletes two of the tracks from the original vinyl release) starts out with one of the most popular Sky pieces, "Hotta." While it is good, I don't seem to like it as much as other Sky fans. "Dance of the Little Fairies" is a nice piece that starts with gentle piano and builds with William's unparelled guitar. Soon, synths and various other instruments are incorporated and it becomes very catchy, defintely a highlight of the album. "Sahara" is probably one of my favorite Sky pieces. At first the piece is quiet and somewhat subdued, but after the glistening piano parts, the intensity increases and it too builds; it becomes almost ethnic sounding at times. The best part comes when the flourish ends and calm begins. The guitar and piano interplay is absolutely sublime, soft and sweet, but never too cheesy. At the end, the flourish begins again.

I feel that the epic, "Fifo," could have been a great piece, but to me, it's too meandering. Maybe if it was divided up across the album indifferent segments, I would have enjoyed it more, but the way it actually is, just isn't to my liking. This is one case where the epic is the worst track on the album, although it has its moments. "Tuba Smarties" was Sky's attempt at musical humor, and it works. The piece was written and performed by Herbie Flowers on the tuba, and even though most wouldn't consider a piece featuring tuba as catchy or interesting, this certainly is an exception! "Ballet-Volta" is a nice classical guitar piece featuring the virtuoso John Williams; nothing out of the ordinary, but if you know Williams work, you will like it.

"Tristan's Magic Garden" is a percussion feature, and like the epic seems a bit meandering. I think it too could have been better, but that's not to say that it's bad. I like it, but I just it's just not up to par with many of the other pieces; it actually reminds me of Pierre Moerlen's Gong quite a bit. "El Cielo" (the sky in Spanish, they were trying to be clever I take it...) is another great track. At first William's guitar and a synth are present, and the song seems a bit dark. Then, it becomes a light, VERY catchy piece with soft percussion and nice latin-inspired guitar work. The mood shifts back to dark by the end of the piece, but then goes back to being light and catchy. This is definitely one of the best reworkings done by Williams.

"Vilvaldi" is a reworking of the Curved Air adaptation that Darryl Way did back when Monkman was in Curved Air. Sky does a great job with the piece; it's very dramatic and interesting. What can I say about "Scipio?" I think it's my FAVORITE Sky piece, so incredibly great. It begins with the nice guitar work of Williams, then like in other Sky compositions, it builds and builds, always staying catchy and interesting. The best part is when the glistening piano comes in. It's definitely eargasmic! This piece shows the passion and substance that people claim Sky never had. It's the best on the album by far! Sky's reworking of Bach's "Tocatta" is pretty good, definitely very dramatic and interesting, but I'm not sure if it's the perfect closer for the album.

All I can say to sum things up is that this is a fantasic album. While not a masterpiece per se, it's still of interest to John William's fans, or fans of classical Rock (I guess that's what you'd call Sky...). And all in all, I think it deserves 4 stars, although it verges on 4.5, possibly Sky's best effort, although I'm not sure, as I haven't heard their entire discography yet, unfortunately.

Zac M | 4/5 |

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