It would be too easy to pun the guy's name, so why bother? Something Funny is Happening, birth name Spencer Keller, has crafted a miniature monstrosity of sinister ambient bliss. Created primarily during the hours of 2 and 10 a.m., his album Blue Sky Lullaby is meant to help listeners hear what they see after witnessing two sunrises. Keller is just as oblique with his origins: "I started playing around with electronic music in 2011 after some life-changing stuff happened." Malleable as it is, the music is consciously aware of its aim to impress by obfuscation and, perhaps a bit more revealing, retains an almost dirge-like quality throughout. The first track is 12 minutes long, twelve laps around your mind 'joggin' the indolent death rattle of the tape hiss. A tundra of muddled synthesizers eventually allow artificial notes to break through the atmosphere, and the results are as startling as they are affecting. Modulation occurs at the halfway point and from there the song is a glacial roller coaster into 80s cinematic territory. It's easily the best track on the album and the most effective example of what Something Funny is Happening is capable of doing.
The middle two tracks are shorter affairs, and as such the music loses some of its impact. "Good Morning, Sunshine,” for example, delves into break beats and experiments with its own interactions in hip-hop. Well-placed if not well-timed, the song is a sharp deviation from the lengthy introductory track. However, capriciousness isn't rewarded so well in the two-minute "Too Many Miles,” which feels rushed and content to exist as a noise plug. Finally, we reach "A Step In Direction,” and the brief track list is starting to look like an allegory. The barely audible arrival of aliens is heard but not felt until two minutes have elapsed. Some time passes and you're in the midst of an extraterrestrial mantra. This music swells, undulates, recedes, and stops. Then it's over. Like all good ambient albums, though there is a fair share of music other than ambient on here, the album makes sure you are never consciously aware you're entering a new void. The musical surprises never seemed contrived but pleasantly improvised and always appropriate. Not to say this is a light album but quite the opposite. The oscillating loops and extended beats play to the shadows of a very lonely soundscape. It is a paranoiac's wonderland. And it is an excellent entry into the ambient arena.
Divide and Conquer is dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We review a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
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