Made in Heights – [Self-Titled (Instrumentals)]

made in heights - selftitled instrumentals

I was very happy to find not only Made in Heights on Apple Music, but an album of instrumentals from their debut as well. Perhaps building on the strength of a new album (Without My Enemy What Would I Do), these instrumentals are easy to find and worth listening to. Playing on a theme of optimistic lyrics and a human voice in a soundscape that’s both delicate and chaotic, it’s interesting to say the least, to hear it stripped of that human voice and wander the soundscape without Kels guiding us. Skylark Interabang?! opens again, the piano melody (a sample of Sufjan Stevens’ Concerning the UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois) plays alone and steals the show, a light tap percussion holds the direction and soon the bass thuds in, the music is balanced between a heavy bass noise and the light piano. All the Places shows off some claps and anxious breathing as it starts, the keyboard is bubbly and optimistic riding the pads like a wave. Perhaps ironically, the lyrics missing are “places, places remind me, wish you could do without me.” Wildflowers (Exhale Efreet) shows some soul, Kels’ voice is warped and distorted without the meaning of words, a xylophone scores the feeling, it’s like being lost, even sans the album lyrics “we just gotta make it home before the goblins take the night,” that anxiety is present and noticeable. On Viices, devoid of any vocals a bassy synth flourishes, it’s not hard to tell there’s a sense of longing in this music, originally following the chorus with “I don’t want to go home without you, drive me just a little more.” The music doesn’t need to rely on vocals, it’s got plenty of meaning and determination on its own. Amaranthine (which it’s worth mentioning was already an instrumental) picks up the pace a little, opening with a pleasant cymbal tap and quick keys, it implies panic and uncertainty, I’m torn between wondering why it didn’t build much on its energy, and asking if it ever even needed to, there’s nothing I dislike here either way. Holla Mears closes the album slowly, a snapping sets the tempo as a siren plays against the simple melody of a few plucked strings – exactly the right strings. It wouldn’t be right to say Made in Heights makes complicated music, every sound is easy to follow and tailored to be a perfect fit where used, Sabzi’s strength as a producer is finding exactly the right notes that have the most impact. The result is a soundscape that reflects optimism and anxiety, it works well enough on its own, but it works a little better with Kels.

3.5/5

2013 / 34:00

Replay: Yes.

Added to Playlist:
Skylark Interabang?! (Instrumental): Ambience & Chill
All the Places (Instrumental): Ambience & Chill
Viices (Instrumental): Ambience & Chill
Holla Mears (Instrumental): Ambience & Chill