Suncastle - Jaws of the Sky


Suncastle is an experimental, funk driven Electronic music project based in Manchester, UK. Their music is inspired by a wide multitude of genres, including Ambient, IDM, Downtempo, Funk, and Hip-Hop – all of which are cloaked under an umbrella of lush Psychedelia and dreamy textures. George Evans, the mastermind behind the project, performs a multitude of instruments, which clearly demonstrate his fluid versatility and ingenuity in writing and recording. Released on March 5, 2021 through Triplicate Records, Suncastle’s newest release Jaws of the Sky is an incredibly diverse release with enough to satisfy any listener of music with plenty of funk and groove. While having an impressive body of work dating back to 2016, it's evident that the newest release, Jaws of the Sky, is a great starting point for new listeners to allow themselves to be introduced to the versatile sounds of Suncastle. The album starts off with 12 minute “Exo”. As long as the track is, it’s very far from pretentious. “Exo” is a great example that sums up the musical mission statement of Suncastle’s very sound. “Mendoza” gets a bit more mysterious with an array of lush ethereal keyboard melodic passages occasionally over-rided by bursts of futuristic synth swirls. “Drownman” cranks it up a notch, taking a faster Breakbeat approach. Harsher, uptempo, heavily compressed drums with a menacing, drone-like Bass lead patch dominate the arrangement. At times, it’s cleverly juxtaposed by a cloud of jangly, otherworldly synth bells to relieve some tension without slowing down the momentum one bit. Things get more weird, eerie, and dream-like with “Marziko”. An atonal swirl of reverb drenched synth-leads surround a solemn, brass like improvisational solo over a steady, Funk-based beat. “The next track, “Armour”, shows the mood being brightened up a bit more. A funky, syncopated beat coupled with serene, major Pentatonic key based synth leads give the piece a nostalgic, feel-good approach. “Phasing” has a more Downtempo feel, inspired by Hip-Hop, Smooth Jazz, and Chillstep music. It builds up towards the two minute mark, giving a climactic feel until just before it ends, tailing off smoothly and serenely as a bird flying into the sunset. “Gunbird” is more low key, subdued, and chill than most of the previous tracks. It has a few moments where it builds up, but it’s Lo-Fi approach is perfectly executed throughout, conveying a suspenseful, awe-striking mood as if one is cautiously waiting for something to happen at the very next moment. As we move on to “Boutique”, we’re presented with an abstract, Psychedelic infused track with a percussive, tribal infused Hip-Hop flavor. A series of vintage lead strings eerily swell in and out to create a “funhouse” effect within the work. Next, “Iguana” comes into the picture with a more low-key yet no less percussive beat. It has a more funky, syncopated texture than its predecessor, with a nice Jazz organ phrase to add more excitement to the atmosphere. “Pylon” enters with a warmer, more atmospheric vibe. Stronger emphasis is placed on the rhythm and bass driven beat while a series of mallets, marimbas, and xylophones make up the melodic arrangement throughout a haze of ethereal synth patches that are complimented with a slight delay effect. “Meridians” cranks up the Funk once again, bringing in a darker, Breakbeat inspired mid-tempo groove. The vibe is a bit more spooky – perfectly fitting for a Sci-Fi/Thriller underscore or perhaps a documentary related to otherworldly phenomena. Getting closer to the end of this wonderful release, we come upon the dreamy “Volcana”. This track is a bit more hypnotic than the previous few tracks, despite being carried by a bottom heavy drum beat. While seemingly less adventurous, it’s certainly no less intriguing as a composition. “Amaranth” drops it down a notch, emerging with a Chillout, Downtempo beat and a brighter timbre in its synth-heavy framework. “Thermo”, one of the more mellow, subdued tracks on the album carries a more atmospheric ambiance in its minor key driven chordal arrangement. It reminds me of a video game interlude or a transitional scene in a modern Noir Thriller. Finally, “Here Comes the Devil” closes the album on a danceable, funky note. Although the setting is Lo Fi and glossed over with a series of slightly detuned synth bursts, the rhythmic groove and funky, percussive bassline is powerful enough to get one moving throughout. I highly recommend adding Suncastle’s Jaws of the Sky to your collection. Whether you are an avid fan of Electronic music or a more sporadic listener of all kinds of music that comprises a little bit of everything – Funk, Downtempo, Chillout, Instrumental Hip-Hop, etc – I assure you that this release just may have something interesting to offer you. Enjoy this album alone in your car, in the background at a party, or while taking an early morning walk or jog with the headphones on.


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