TiredEyes – Constellations [Review]

I Used To Be, Chris Stolz’s second album under the TiredEyes monicker, was one of my favourite and most played records of last year. Its jazzy beats and laid back feel made for fantastic summer listening with some infectious melodies that really stuck. Dusty analogue vibes, warm production and an unhurried pace set a bar that any musician would be hardpressed to top. And so, just over one year on, Constellations arrives in time for the last month or two of warm weather (here in the UK anyway).

Where I Used To Be arrived with a shot of energy on title track I Used To Be, Constellations takes a subtler route and opts to build slowly with the smokey Cosmic Echoes. It’s lazy, considered, and thoroughly cinematic. And this is what sets Constellations apart from debut There in the Shade and last years I Used To Be. It’s that experience from three albums under one project. A confidence and swagger that can only become apparent after the foundations have been laid and then tested.

Tracks build, vocal samples tease, beats reverberate; crackles, hissing and pops layer onto a wide selection of instruments. It’s a pleasure to listen to and if stuck with, will reveal a surprising level of detail that a quick listen might mask. The latter half of the album really shines with tracks like Nylon Trees and Stay Inside being stunning examples of what Stolz can do, the latter containing a great sample from Peggy Lees Johnny Guitar. It’s moody, sweeping and cinematic.

So how does Constellations stack up to I Used To Be? It effectively continues right where its predecessor left off, in fact it wouldn’t sound out of place if it were a side two – just a slower and more confident side two. That’s not to it’s detriment though, Constellations is still a superb record through and through and familiarity is as much as a good thing as a bad thing. Change for changes sake is not always a good thing and this is a perfect example when you’ve hit a great formula not to mess with it too much. As above, what is there however is a far more polished experience; further refined, cinematic and confident. Stolz’s beats sound just as organic, his sampling tighter and the details finer. This is what makes TiredEyes stand out from a large number of the other beatmakers at the moment, fine detailing. It’s exciting to put a pair of headphones and come out so rewarded and Constellations does not disappoint.

Constellations is available for download from TiredEyes bandcamp page for $10 (USD)

Tracklisting is as follows,

  1. Blast Off   (00:51)
  2. Cosmic Echoes   (03:26)
  3. Orbital   (03:10)
  4. Golden   (02:09)
  5. Pain   (03:01)
  6. Imagery   (01:48)
  7. Maydrum   (01:53)
  8. Move Like This   (02:41)
  9. Run Free   (02:32)
  10. Such A Sky   (01:36)
  11. Lean Back   (02:27)
  12. Sit By The Door   (02:56)
  13. Empty Chamber   (01:15)
  14. We’re Not Home   (01:49)
  15. Mellow Breeze   (02:08)
  16. Space Bass   (03:53)
  17. Nylon Trees   (02:51)
  18. Stay Inside   (03:31)
  19. Obedient Workers   (01:54)

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