Empire State Observatories 3 by Sean Curley

Sean Curley | Empire State Observatories 3
Opuscula (LP/DL)

In his ongoing Empire State Observatories series Seattle’s Sean Curley is releasing the third that comes in an op-art hand-silkscreened sleeve by Tomory Dodge. Another fantastic mastering via the prolific Rafael Anton Irisarri, quite a notable artist in his own right, what you notice first about Empire State Observatories 3 is its genuinely bold take on would-be otherwise sonic ambient.

The four track album (37 mins.) manifests in a hybridized world that is at times congenial (Approach), at times isolated and way chill (Detach), but over and above it offers an immersive, cavernous atmosphere. I recommend adding additional volume (unless you have surround sound) to allow Curley’s whooshing celestial strings to encircle you with a layered swirl of the subconscious.

Blurred chords lead the way towards a state of reflection, centeredness for some. The listener will feel as though they are being slightly coaxed into this cyclical buzz of drone and barely present percussion on Envelop. By far the standout track on the recording, the ear is keyed up and tuned in. Though it seems repetitive at first, the shifting neurological guide (of sorts) inflates and expands into another level of cool restraint. And finally on Return harmonic intonations take stage, reminding me of a folky-electronic combination of some recent output from 12K and Hubro. It’s hazy in streaked light, with an impassioned yearning.

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