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“Dreamlike escapades driven by samples and synth”
Soft Fall is the sophomore effort from the Philadelphia-based band Sun Airway (Jon Barthmus). Once again a flurry of manipulated sounds, hand crafted beats and riffs are paired with an unpredictable barrage of instruments. The distorted sounds and samples culminate in an album that is both dreamlike and hazy.
Barthmus once again utilizes his penchant for hypnotic ambience by pairing brooding lyricism with bursts of instrumental experimentation. “Black Noise” is an energetic punch with opaque vocals and layers of keys and strings. “New Movements” is more subdued – introspective and contemplative – while “Over My Head” ends the album with a sense of applause-like quality. The record features three “Activity” tracks, all of which evoke starkly different images. They seem to serve as Barthmus’ resume, a look into the varying arrangements he is able to craft.
The entire album progresses with a twilight-like atmosphere, driven by synthesized chords and blurred imagery. As far as sophomore endeavors go, it’s a strong one. Barthmus has a clear grasp of his genre, his style and what he enjoys. He is able to pair variety with consistency to demonstrate a steady, but strong, development as an artist.