The solo recording project of Mashu Haya, Sky Mata started out as The Sky Mata, though Haya has since decided to drop the ‘The’ after moving back to Japan from Montreal. Still, fans of The Sky Mata should not fear, because none of the act’s style is lost along with the redundant word, as third album, Dye Xanh, attests.
As with previous releases, the record offers a beguilingly casual brand of slacker bedroom pop, the languid tones so laid back they are near horizontal. The relaxed vibe extends far beyond the music itself, with elements of life and its background noise leaking into the songs, making them feel like authentic snapshots of specific moments in time.
And an interesting time at that. As opener ‘Cool Yeti Air’ hints, Dye Xanh came into being as Haya travelled Nepal, and his surroundings ooze through the tracks so that we are travelling with him. Be it the aeroplane intercom announcement upon landing in Kathmandu of the opening track, or the ambient birdsong that underpins the lush lo-fi shuffle of ‘Casio Thorn’, Sky Mata is a project rooted in the experiences that inform it.
The template is not only immersive but constantly surprising. Take ‘Temple Sky Salt’, a playful, understated pop song where Haya croon in wistful tones, though one which lurches into a higher gear toward a frenetic conclusion. ‘Way Home Bktpr’ finds inspiration in the bedroom pop stalwarts, offering a quivering vulnerability, though soon morphs into psychedelic textures, while the pure tones of ‘Lark Song’ have a devotional aesthetic, as crisp and crystalline as Himalayan air.
Dye Xanh is out now via Citrus City Records and you can get it from Bandcamp.