What might A Sunny Day in Glasgow sound like? Like children laughing, cars passing, trees in the wind? If you dont know, youre in for a pleasant surprise. The ambient six-piece out of Philly releases yet another stellar soundscape with their EP Nitetime Rainbows. The seven-track release clocks in at a little over half an hour, but dont be fooledits the nicest half hour youll spend all day.
The album begins with titled track Nitetime Rainbows, characterized by dark-tinged, at times slightly off-key sounding synth beats, and a certain desperation that comes across in the slow build of the rhythm and the tense vocals. Daytime Rainbows, appropriately enough, bursts next with a pleasant lightness that carries the whole album up and into the sky. Theres more guitar on this piece and more vocal warmth, translating into a more upbeat feel in general.
My personal favorite is the next track, titled So Bloody, So Tight. It begins with the loveliest, simplest guitar phrase, repeated again and again over a gradually rising backing track. When the vocals come in over top, intoning we are/ we are above the whole noise, the song takes on a spiral quality that evokes the same feeling as gazing out a train window. If youve ever wondered what song might play over your morning walk in the movie version of your life (come on, its not just me), this is it.
Piano Lessons features the instrument of the same name layered over a slightly grungy synth beat, and with more ethereal lyrics laid over top. The repetitive nature of the song is soothing and lends itself well to bathtub-floating or crossed-leg meditation. Nitetime Rainbows (The Buddy System Remix) is similarly pleasant, with well-placed handclaps and nearly unintelligible vocals overlaid some two or three voices deep. Nitetime Rainbows (Acid Wash Edit by Benoit Pioulard) follows with a lot of fuzz and distortion. The higher parts rising over the din take on an almost hopeful quality. Lastly, Nitetime Rainbows (Ezekiel Honig Remix) finishes things off with a lighter touch. It evolves slowly from rhythm, fuzz, and the sound of someone inhaling sharply, and becomes a comforting guitar piece by the end, pulling thing to a warm and fuzzy close.
Ambient music should ideally be a place to focus your mind, to visualize the physical characteristics of the music, and also a place to lose yourself. Nitetime Rainbows has those qualities in spades. This has become my go-to album for stressful moments; if youre having a similarly hectic spring, dear reader, do yourself a favor, and buy your mind some quiet time. A Sunny Day in Glasgow is a place Id like to be, indeed.