The phrase “a diluted form of post-rock” may seem like a form of insult, but it’s the phrase used by Tom Honey to describe his work as Good Weather For An Airstrike. The phrase is apt; Underneath the Stars sounds like a slightly narcoleptic cousin of Explosions in the Sky: light on the explosions, heavy on the sky. The post-rock construction is there; the sonic diagram of “Another Way Out” would look like a sine wave of quiet-slightly less quiet-quiet. This is the ambient version of post-rock in the same way as the Euphoria series was the ambient version of trance, preserving the form while altering the function.
Underneath the Stars – in fact, all of Honey’s work – stems from a desire to counteract the effects of tinnitus. In order to do so, one needs counter-tones that balance and thus eradicate the constant, high-pitched ringing. This particular album also centers on the idea of a good night’s sleep, with titles such as “Theta Waves” and “Delta Sleep/REM”. As such, it hearkens back to Isnaj Dui’s 2011 album Circle of Sleep, which covered the same ground in an electronic/experimental manner. Yet while Isnaj Dui’s album sought to reflect the nature of sleep, Honey’s album is also designed as an aid to sleep. One can certainly imagine drifting off to a sprawling, slowly morphing track such as “You’re Rendering Again”, although the slightly more active and louder strings of “Aurora” might wake one up again. A few stray sounds – a thunderstorm, children, the restrained xylophone tones of “Cast Aside (The Briefest of Pauses”) add moments of light distraction. The 14-minute closer, “Theroux”, is gentle throughout, a post-rock trough without a peak, but a lovely gateway to the land of dreams. (Richard Allen)