by: Mychael Danna

1992's Skys continues Mychael Danna's tradition of thematic compositions. This time Danna draws his inspiration from the subtly changing Canadian skies, as captured in a series of photographs he took on a spring trip. The detailed range of emotions he found in the clouds is transformed into ten compositions, each a different mix of musical sun and shadow. Likewise, synthesizers blend with live reed, wind and brass instruments for a fittingly airy, evocative mood. Skys begins on a dark note, with "Sky 1's" moody strings accented by sinuous oboes and trumpets. The musical turbulence builds with the extended crescendos of "Sky 4," and climaxes in the environmental-musical mix in "Sky 9," a creative blend of piano, oboe and strings with David Beare's thunderstorm recording. Partly sunny pieces like the Celtic inspired "Sky 7" and "Sky 10" add just the right amount of contrast to the album's darker passages. With its combination of intricate, repetitive melodic motifs and emotional approach, Danna's romantic minimalism reaches a new high on Skys. ~ Heather Phares

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