- Until now, Visionist's rebooted Codes label has favoured music with a difficult streak. Acre and Filter Dread's grime-techno bombardments, Kamixlo's pummelling "Paleta" and the brain-tickling collages of Ling all made demands on the listener. The label's latest is no less characterful, but it's a lot easier on the ears. The debut solo release from Belgium's Sky H1, Motion, is an EP of melodic tracks that chart "an intensely emotional time with a lot of ups and downs." There's plenty of precedent for soppy introspection in the genre field Codes occupies and for the sound palette Sky uses—vaporous synth patches, wordless vocal samples, sparse drums—but her style compass is configured slightly differently. In places, the EP is a bit Clams Casino (romantic closer "I Think I Am"), in others, well, Enya (beatific opener "Air"). And unlike, say, her label boss, Sky's synth meditations aren't weighed down by melancholy. Even when her tracks are sort of sad, the pace remains brisk and the melodies somehow exuberant.
It helps that she has a fine touch. Hooks are understated and neatly elliptical, the halo of reverb rich but not overdone. Only occasionally does Sky misjudge things, as on "Land," which begins as an EP highlight but meanders in the last few minutes. Elsewhere, she switches between more energetic tracks—like "Hybrid," which falls away to silence before regrouping around a joyous vocal hook—and lower-key lullabies like "Night/Fall/Dream." On "Tell Me," pretty melodies are punctured by giggling. It doesn't sound like Sky's at the eye of the emotional storm; it sounds like she's already ridden it out. Perhaps that's why, for all its hints at heavy themes, Motion is such a serene listen.
A3 I Think I Am
B3 Tell Me