Review – It’s Not Night: It’s Space: Our Birth is But a Sleep and a Forgetting

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  • Bio: "Heavy Raga-Roll Drone Journeys to the Depths of Inner & Outer Space" - Facebook
  • Label: Small Stone Records
  • Release Date: June 24th, 2016
  • Genre: Ambient, Psychedelic Rock, Stoner Rock, Stoner Metal
  • Website: Visit Website
  • Rating (out of 10):

It’s Not Night: It’s Space was formed back in 2010 by guitarist Kevin Halcott and drummer Michael Lutomski, eventually joined by bassist Tommy Guerrero. Since their formation, the trio unleashed an EP in October of 2011 titled East of the Sun & West of the Moon, and their debut full-length Bowing Not Knowing to What in 2012, both of which were released independently. Over the years, the band had been fine-tuning their chemistry inspired music, evolving into more than just jam session material both behind the scenes, as well as through plenty of live dates, “averaging about fifty-sixty” per year according to the accompanying press release. But does this instrumental effort’s follow-up album Our Birth is But a Sleep and a Forgetting, which is set for release through Small Stone Records, present anything all that tangible to fans of the style, or is it something best left sailing through the vast cosmos undisturbed?

If there’s anything to be said right off the bat about this effort, it’s that the group really manages to stick to its namesake in their performances. Trying to pin Our Birth is But a Sleep and a Forgetting down to one specific sound is fairly difficult in this regard, as it caters to atmospheres cast into the luminescent night skies of an old sixties movie full of drug use, carrying all within range off into deep cosmos of a narcotic induced scientific coma under the stars. Of course, this doesn’t explain every track of the release, just the more significant ones.

“Across the Luster of the Desert Into the Polychrome Hills” is one of the more obvious to that argument. The highly psychedelic track has some bouts of enthusiasm from time to time, but the real core is the laid back melodies that often feel as though you are laying out in the middle of a field staring up at the night sky with a friend or loved one, witnessing a grand show in the cosmos meant for you eyes only. It’s an intimate sensation that can send little charges gently shocking your whole body similar to that youthful first kiss with someone you’ve been romantically interested in for quite some time. Then there’s “Pillars In the Void”, a slower paced piece that seems to creep along like a thief in a dimly lit street, looking for the next house to burgle until the pace picks up, which is comparable to being in a search for the best bar to indulge in some late night fun.

It isn’t to say the cuts that don’t carry the same tone as those two are bad, just clearly out-of-place compared to the rest, something that’s obvious once you make it past the first two tracks. The introductory performance “Nada Brahma” ends up an ambient piece with dialogue layered over it to sound like some sort of ritualistic chanting above radio and television transmissions picked up over the airwaves. While suiting, it oddly sets up more of a southern occult vibe than it does the astral tone that the rest of the release capitalizes on. Then there’s “The Beard of Macroprosopus” which does have a bit of an astral tone, but it’s also the heaviest the album has to offer. Early on you’re greeted with some Egyptian themed hooks that do stick it out across the nine minute performance, but what really captivates the listener is the drum presence, especially the cymbal crashes. The pace may vary, but Michael Lutomski still manages to fill the song up nicely with a subtle trance-inducing rhythm behind the patterns a number of times.

It's Not Night: It's Space

Our Birth is But a Sleep and a Forgetting is a surprising little journey through the psychedelic cosmos of the stoner and ambience world, even if the atmospheres are mostly what makes this all that memorable. It’s Not Night: It’s Space does a superb job casting various settings, though the best the trio unleash are those blanketed with the cosmos themselves, leaving the listener at their mercy through soothing astral voyages with or without the aid of hallucinogenic drugs of some kind. Between solid musicianship like what’s found on “The Beard of Macroprosopus” and the emotionally charged sensations felt on “Across the Luster of the Desert Into the Polychrome Hills”, it’s plain to see that this three-piece is not your every day instrumental act, and one that only continues to advance their sound the longer they exist as a unit. If you have yet to hear what It’s Not Night: It’s Space has to offer, and don’t mind lengthy performances, then this six song creation is at least worth sampling.

Digital review copy of this release provided by Small Stone Records.