From Brisbane, Australia, Sky Needle is a trio that engages in the sort of musical primitivism that leads them to build their own “unstruments.” Featuring latex pump horns, elastic dust shovel, and bass speaker box on their debut, Sky Needle winds up with an occasionally charming, if conceptually vain, release.
The conceptual freakiness that underlies these pieces contains a couple of distracting elements. The trio has actually built remarkably nice-sounding instruments, which kind of undermines the exoticism implied in their self-image. They sound like harmonicas and horns and such—they don’t sound particularly radical.
The other issue is that this isn’t especially compelling playing, which may be by design. On side A, there’s a lot of plodding along looking for grooves, but not a lot of listening to one another, which leaves the pieces with a frustratingly uncertain feel, as if the players recorded and released their very first meeting instead of waiting for a few rehearsals to develop.
Side B’s “The Stain” is more coherent, settling into a groove that seems to imply progress, with some foreboding atmospherics by the horn. The trio embodies the concept of learning as they go, seeming to internalize a vocabulary of rhythms and tones from start to finish on this disc. Unfortunately, the vocabulary isn’t quite as exotic as they pretend—perhaps they’ll take their concept further as they go. 4/10 -- Travis Bird (18 August, 2010)