It´s Skyphone´s playfullness that wins out: All Is Wood is a woozy Penguin Café Orchestra-style beauty, and World Station consists chiefly of birdsong, a few bells, meandering acoustic guitar and what sounds like a tree yawning. An especially lovely record.
It´s their ability to low-key melodies by embracing small sounds, surface crackle and glitch, slow tempos and space that makes the difference. The melodies are the backbone of Avellaneda, though; the group´s borrowings from Scandinavian traditionals moves the set away from the anonymity of Ambient (and furniture) towards a kind of instrumental dub folk.
Avellaneda’s ambient mix of traditional instruments, glitchy electronica, cyclical classical passages and folk will be immediately appealing to anyone who likes their music both angular and chilled, and will definitely appeal to admirers of bands like amiina and Efterklang. Ambient music’s reputation has taken a battering over the last decade, so it’s great to see bands like Skyphone reclaiming this much maligned genre and giving it a much needed shot in the arm. Lush, slightly skewed and altogether beautiful.
Skyphone make electronica even more bucolic than one would expect from Rune Grammofon; soft, almost organic glitch mixes with acoustic guitar, analogue keyboards, tuned percussion, field recordings of birds and crickets; electronic processes mimic the natural. It may sound cloying to some, but it´s the warmest, fuzziest album I´ve heard this year.
Suddenly, it´s love. Leaving the minimalistic abstraction of many Rune releases behind, "Avellaneda" not only feels like proper pop but being French-kissed by the sun after a night of heavy drinking. Definitely more latte macchiato than instant coffee. A solid 8/10.
Moods and ambience form the core of this understated and very dreamy collection lying perfectly between Efterklang and Sigur Ros.
Here again the sounds are soft and playful – another red thread in Rune's spectrum. The piano/synthesiser of Schmidt is the main carrying element,around which Bødker and Holst wind their bass and other sounds respectively ( „snap, crackle and pop“). All in all Skyphone is rather classical downtempo, more Indie than Jazz. Music for thinking and starring holes, the sort, where every listen will make you discover something new. Sometimes there is a certain Japanese thing going on, and when the guitars are being picked in the most classical style, they remind me a lot of the old Joan of Arc!!