Sky Stadium, Freely Without

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Self-contained headphones music opens up to reveal lots of perks.

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Luke Carrell | January 25, 2012

All photos and gif by Luke Carrell

All photos and gif by Luke Carrell

Listening on:

The Pyle PL5CSUB Cassette Tape Archiver and Digital Media Converter is primarily intended for converting cassette tapes to digital files, but has a relatively nice pair of built-in speakers, as well as a variety of audio outputs. The speakers are definitely small, still give out nice low end, manage not to overload, and can get loud enough to fill a room nicely enough.

The band:
Sky Stadium is Jeffrey Buslo of New Jersey’s drone-centric moniker. He’s left a prolific scattering of tape releases across several labels over the last year, with each showing healthy levels of experimentation. The releases represent a unique and growing taste, which manages to touch on many of the more commonly shared aesthetics of the recent “new age” and ambient resurgence, while never reverting to any newly minted clichés. Freely Without is his first release on Exo Tapes.

The music:
Each track on Freely Without is self-contained and revolves around a single minimalist theme. Subtle variations within the repetitive arpeggios and melodic patterns (real and imagined) lend the tracks a feeling of organic growth and/or decay that defies expectations. Overall, there’s too much of a feeling of progression and pop music style coherence to label these as purely drone tracks. Label away: new age, ambient, and mood music are all appropriate references here.

How it sounds:
Objectively, is totally headphones music. But seriously, there’s something really gratifying about hearing these drones put out loudly. Hearing this music interact with a physical space is gratifying and gives it all a pleasant warmth.

The full package:

The cassette case comes in a white cardboard sleeve detailed with vegetal arabesque patterns. The artwork by Whatever™ sticks to the same cool color palette, with a hazy, half open eye looming over a texture that could be either water or rock. It’s a nice complement to the dependably familiar beige of the cassette. The release also comes with a card and some stickers, which is a nice touch. Gotta love perks.

Listening:

“Cartesian” demonstrates the gradual build and fade, as well as dramatic filtering.

Sky Stadium – Cartesian by exo tapes

“To Ascend” shows off a meditative cool.

Sky Stadium – To Ascend by exo tapes

Freely Without is now available from Exo Tapes.

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