When I heard this was a new dawn from Frank Baugh (Sparkling Wide Pressure, etc), I was excited but unsure of what to expect. Over the years, Sparkling Wide Pressure has been an evolving, always-pushing-forward kind of project. But I also get it – sometimes you need a fresh start or have ideas you want to pursue that are way out in another direction. Whatever the cause, I’m grateful because Night Sky Body’s debut, Recurring, is a rich and varied dreamscape.
What is most striking about Recurring is the details. Baugh has always had a talent for combining disparate sounds and sending them through some type of ancient, mysterious matrix he works with to create sounds that sound equal parts new and ancient. Night Sky Body flirts with similar ideas but ultimately builds a new grid and feeds something different into it with great effect. Hauntological ruins float to the surface of “Caught in the Creek,” beckoning like a lighthouse in a storm. Piano passages mourn the tightening of the visual field as if the world is closing in, darkening the edges. Howling synth leads reach out, hoping someone else will volunteer to stay behind as Baugh’s voice emerges as comfort. The chord progressions are deeply affecting, wrapping you up in this floating sonic world.
Hints of Sparkling Wide Pressure creep in on “Interlude,” where the distant sounding loops creak and groan to life like ghost stories being told in an abandoned house. Piano returns – and continues to be a major driver throughout Recurring – on the title track as Baugh’s voice comes to the fore. Lakers of synths and vocal samples create a ritualistic flow that is transportive. Eyes closed, as a saxophone gently puffs away, Baugh’s voice takes you into a new world. “Every night I see the same view,” he promises as he unveils this secret, enchanting garden of sound.
I didn’t think Frank Baugh needed a reinvention but I was wrong. Night Sky Body is an incredible new chapter that I can’t wait to hear further unfold. Highly recommended.