This is just what the world needs right now.
As Jonathan Rowden beautifully puts it:
“The album touches on a few different cultural cues, namely the need for connected-ness, and community through shared experience (adventure) and escape. I think that we are at each other’s throats so often politically and ideologically, and even just in terms of fostering our careers as artists, that it creates a relational vacuum or at a least a facade of community – it doesn’t go a lot deeper than the buzzword.
But when people are at home online, playing multiplayer games, watching movies, we often don’t see the skin color or face or politically charged profile picture of those we interact with. We fail to realize that we ALREADY ARE actively participating in these things with others that we probably would write off; but we are ‘collectively-disconnected’ – we are literally one or two words away from making a new friend, improving someones night, or even changing a life.
I think there needs to be less fighting, less waring and more adventuring together. In addition to making music, I’ve spent the last three years actively trying to build small creative-music communities through concert producing and community events related to this music. I think that the spirit of this album comes largely from what I’ve been thinking, along these lines.”
The music itself seems to be greatly inspired by retro gaming, movie soundtracks, and fantasy-nerd culture. The first episode of the documentary (below) explains this.
With their first album, Becoming, the band explored the music in a single-day lockout with only one or two takes of each song, with pretty much zero editing and only one sparse moment of overdubbing. All of us songwriters know how that can be. The next two years were ripe with patient composing and developing of new music.
In Skyward Eye, three full days were dedicated to expanding the cinematic nature of the new music. It still has an undying dedication to exploring the gray areas between form and freedom, but in Skyward Eye, the listener will hear this in the macro sense — much of the improvisation contained in it was through the choices in studio: the complete changing of directions of songs, picking up instruments they’ve never played before, expanding textures from simple snare hits to huge organic hybrids sounds combining voices, metal chairs, breath sounds, and everything in-between.
It’s a trusting blend of approaches…I like. The crew wanted to make something epic, something that was bigger but simultaneously more intimate than anything they had previously made. And now, it’s here.
Nowadays, we simultaneously inhabit a world of “social” media and interconnection, but people are realizing that they are more disconnected from each other than ever before. In creating this album as a limited-edition interactive art-book, the guys wanted their music to be a personal meditation for the listener, with the goal of getting people to sit down and experience this album as an adventure that they go in one way and come out freer, cleaner, or even lighter. They can draw in the book, write in it, explore their own thoughts, or flow somewhat with our own. Jonathan hopes “that by exploring their own imaginations and the worlds inside of us all, we can find our common humanity, and better appreciate the world outside.” I hope the same, Mr. Rowden… I hope for the same.
If your interest is not already sparked, watch this: “Making Skyward Eye: An Original Mini Documentary.”
The album will be released on February 17, 2017, so keep your eyes and ears open! And your mind. Always keep an open mind.
For more info:
and last but not least: