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Sky 3

Review by Gary Hill

As you might gather from the title, this was the third album from Sky. Between the two releases Francis Monkman had departed, being replaced by Steve Gray. Interestingly enough, in some ways this feels more like the logical successor to the debut disc than the second album did. Either way, this is another classy excursion into instrumental music.

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Track by Track Review
The Grace
This is a short guitar solo that's rather playful and delicate.
Chiropodie No.1
Melodic fusion with a lot of progressive rock and some hints of classical music creates the musical concept here. They take this through a number of changes as it continues to evolve.
I dig the cool fusion vibe that starts this. It seems to promise some greatness will emerge, and as this moves forward it does. There are definitely plenty of progressive rock things at play on this track, too. There is some particularly cool guitar work on parts of this number, but around the three minute mark it drops to a keyboard driven movement. It grows outward from there, making me think of Al Di Meola to a large degree. This has some dramatic modes at play. It gets into more mainstream progressive rock territory for the closing movement.
A classical piece by Handel, this works in delicately and grows outward with a pretty standard classical approach at first. It gets a bit more modern takes as it continues, and I particularly like the harpsichord work on the performance. The synthesizer brings something special to it, too. There are part of this that make me think of something Rick Wakeman might do.
Connecting Rooms
This starts tentatively with some echoey, trippy textures. That element holds the piece for a while. Eventually it shifts toward some classically inspired stuff as it moves forward. Guitar that starts to rise up after the two minute mark brings more of a traditional progressive rock sound to it. The cut continues to work forward from that, getting into some almost mainstream rock music for a bit. A false ending after the four minute mark leads to a mellow arrangement of piano and acoustic guitar. It eventually works onward toward more fusion-like material as it evolves. It still remains fairly sedate, though.
A harder rocking jam, this makes me think of The Dixie Dregs quite a bit. There is some tasty guitar soloing built into the piece. There are also some particularly cool shifts and changes here. Around the two and a half minute mark this shifts to a different section, with a bit more of a mainstream rock vibe to it. The guitar starts soloing over the top again, reinforcing that Dregs comparison. There is definitely a bit of a down-home country element to it to some degree.
Sister Rose
This comes in with a cool rocking vibe. It gets some funky stuff added to the mix as it continues. This is very much a fusion styled number. I'm reminded of Al Di Meola on this to some large degree. While everything on the track is noteworthy, I am particularly fond of both the bass playing and the guitar work. There is a drop back to intricate acoustic guitar work on the number. It powers back out into a powerhouse jam from there.
Delicate musical modes open this, and hold it for more than two and a half minutes, with some changes ensuing within that basic concept. Some electric guitar brings a more powered up motif to the song, but the same basic melodic structure continues as the driving force here. It drops back down after about a minute, and those mellower concepts take it from there to the ending.
Dance of the Big Fairies
Harpsichord opens this with a definite classical music concept. A tuba joins as the piece moves forward. Around the one minute mark there is a short percussion break. Then the tuba returns as it drives onward. Other elements are gradually added to the mix, with a definite classical music vibe remaining. There is a bit of a stop followed by a journey into more polka like sounds. The gradually gets intensified as this drives forward. It reaches a peak and then ends. Some playful world music type sounds rise up but eventually get rebuilt into more of that polka type thing. It starts speeding up from there as it moves to the closing.
This comes in very mellow and a standup bass is heard as it works gradually forward. Some mellow guitar eventually drives the melodic elements as this evolves. It has a mellow jazz kind of vibe overall. After the two and a half minute mark that bass remains as the only instrument, creating a driving kind of groove. Other instruments join, and we're taken into a more energized jazz jam from there. The piano gets some cool soloing over the top. The whole tune continues to shift and grow in some particularly cool ways.
Keep Me Safe And Keep Me Warm, Shelter Me From Darkness
This is just a short number. It starts with some classical elements and then fires out to some powered up stuff from there. That drops away and leaves the mellower stuff behind. For some reason this piece makes me think of Queen just a bit. It's a great way to end the set in style.
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