Damon & Naomi A Sky Record

Label
20/20/20
Released
5th August 2022

Format Info

LP - Blue Vinyl, NO PRINT
LP - blue vinyl
With Signed Print
We’re so happy to be able to collaborate with our friends Damon & Naomi to present A Sky Record with a limited, signed print. Hand-numbered to 50 copies only.

Blooming out into the open slowly, Oceans In Between uncurls with a languid air, familiar and comforting. Naomi Wang’s vocal, joined by longtime collaborator Damon Krukowski in harmony, instantly gets there. You’ll know what we mean. And then the melting, instantly recognisable tone of Michio Kurihara (of Japanese psych group Ghost) adds yet another layer of magic. It can only be a Damon & Naomi record and it’s a blueprint set out early, expanded upon and fleshed out over the course of their new A Sky Record.

Released in 2021 digitally and now with a physical release, A Sky Record was recorded during the pandemic and while the lyrical content deals with uncertainty and distance, one of Damon & Naomi’s strengths has always been their ability to draw you in. They’re the group you sit up at the front row for. It’s a hushed kind of magic that they conjur, informed by their myriad past groups (Galaxie 500, Magic Hour) but resolutely individual in its mission. Their synergy is always glowing, duetting vocals that take turns to do lead and backing with Kurihara’s creamy guitar solos the unofficial third. On A Sky Record, the band are joined by longtime friends and fellow travellers like Jarvis Cocker and Richard Youngs who come together to create something emminently hugging in.
Wang’s vocal in particular is like a violin, curling in and out of the shimmering tremolo, the slow chord changes building a restrained and dignified tension with it. The Gift (not a VU cover!) features a soaring Wang vocal that illustrates this dynamic perfectly, while something like Split Screen decries a ghostly, shadow cityscape bereft of souls, two hearts in isolation across miles.

 

“With its meditative tempos and enveloping guitar work by Michio Kurihara—‘it’s like this golden net,’ Naomi said of his gorgeous, versatile playing—A Sky Record offers shelter from the squall. If it has the glow of a long-delayed reunion between friends, that’s not accidental: Kurihara hasn’t traveled outside of Japan in some time, so Damon and Naomi hadn’t recorded with him in nearly ten years. When they finally made it back to Japan in November 2019 for a brief tour, they were elated to book some time with Kurihara at the aptly named studio Peace Music.

“In those long stretches of quarantime, the tracks they returned from Japan with had distinct moods but not yet any lyrics. (Kurihara works best when trying to conjure a specific feeling or natural image—after all, he did once make a solo record, Sunset Notes, on which every song was based on a different sunset he’d witnessed…) How to write about the pandemic? How to not write about the pandemic? Naomi first struck upon the appropriate tone when re-reading the journals of one of her favorite abstract painters, Charles Burchfield. She arranged this found language into the lyrics of the iridescent ‘Season Without Time,’ which also became a tribute to a friend that she and Damon had lost in the last year.

“From there, the floodgates opened. The wistful and watery ‘Midnight’ (electrified, towards the end, by the slow screams of a Kurihara solo) conjures Naomi’s nostalgia for youthful summers spent at Jones Beach, while the gentle current of ‘Sailing By’ pays homage to those ritualistic BBC Shipping Forecasts and the waltzing, quintessentially British theme song from which it takes its name.”

—Lindsay Zoladz

“Back to make all your folk-pop dreams melt into the sunset.”

Rolling Stone