Halos are shy to be seen. On the surface, there aren’t that many. Above, though, comes the sound of angel song. Shining with a brilliant, angelic light, the music of Pausal is a scarlet, spectral aura that has transcended its original self; shedding its heavier, nectarine-sweet tones in favour of innocent transparency, in order that they may climb higher towards their destiny.
The lovely peach colouring of drone levitates out of the black of the earth that was so richly trodden on the duo’s predecessor, Forms. Lighter in tone than their past, the processed drones are like pink, blossoming clouds that stay awhile before passing on by. Ancient hieroglyphics are made out to be vague apparitions in the cirrus trails of drone. Sky Margin turns its glassy, inspired eyes to the skies.
The ambient-drone project of Alex Smalley and Simon Bainton features some of the most breath-taking, beautiful music you will ever hear. Promise. The drones on Sky Margin are not just classic ambient lines with drifting trajectories – they are arcs of ambience, curved to fine, shapely angles as they transcend higher and higher. You can always trust Pausal to deliver astonishing music. They are one of the finest.
Brazen tones are focused enough to project a sense of real purpose, but they are fluffy little sweethearts that shimmer with an absolutely gorgeous hue of pale light. Their innocence beams down from the heavens, flowing from one to another in what is essentially a long form piece of music. Dizzying altitudes help to support and sculpt the lifted drones, and despite the high altitude, there’s plenty of opportunity to inhale deeply.
The first second of ‘Vapour’ alone is enough to call everything else quits and dim those lights. Once a sole note, once a tiny wisp of vapour, the music lifts itself up, called into the clouds. ‘Celestial’ starts quietly, a sparkling, bronzed harmony acting as a trailing tail of light in the sky. Shimmering between its heavenly two tones, it brings into clear focus the distance we have already travelled. Swelling and then dipping on their ascent, the drones flow together without so much as a stutter or a jolt, pouring out similar flares of luminescent light – all of which are intensely bright – but with subtle differences in colour.
The coda, ‘Utopian’, is an amazing climax of clouded reverb, dragging its scent of drone into the sky with a caring, yet intense force. In this day and age, halos are in short supply. Pausal have aimed higher than ever, left everyone behind. Sky Margin coasts on its flutter of wings like that of a cherub in flight, bringing a new meaning to the phrase, ‘Get High’. Up here, there is nothing but light. Promise. (James Catchpole)