I had some grand plans for the evening. I was going to rip through overdue posts for the ever-dreamy Chromatics, as well as the throwback mid ’00s festival, Just Like Heaven. But then realized, I didn’t have the energy to tackle those exceptional performances with the proper attention, detail, and respect. I also thought about doing a stripped down piece on Norwegian electro-disco entrepreneur and artist Todd Terje, which would’ve been a catchy single plus some live footage from a few years back. Again, not up to it. So I’ve decided to roll the Spotify wheel and see where the random shuffle takes me.
And Shy Layers’ “Tomorrow” is where I’ve ended up. Admittedly, I’ve had this sitting in one of my “holding” playlists that I use for selecting tunes for this blog. It’s got 24-plus hours of anything and everything that catches my ear. And it’s my grab bag of goodies for populating this blog with eclectic content, whenever I’m at a loss for deep thoughts, decision-making capability, or any game plan in general. That said, most of it’s really interesting stuff, and tonight’s selection is no exception.
Shy Layers is a Brooklyn-based project from musician and visual artist JD Walsh. He tends to get lumped in the Balearic pop category, which is a mid-’90s electronic dance thing from the land of Ibiza. And a cursory listen of his colorful catalogue tends to confirm that notion more often than not. There’s a bit of African rhythm, some Krautrock, layers of shimmery synth-pop, brightly lit guitars, and even a retro vocoder to shift the balance towards retro disco sci-fi. It’s a kaleidoscopic concoction of anything-goes rhythm and groove, and it’s blended to simmery perfection, timeless and familiar, yet strange and multi-versery.
“Tomorrow” probably qualifies as a chill-out or downtempo tune. But it feels more like a glint and glimmer of summer sunned beach euphoria. It’s oddly quirky in that it has these glassy analog synths that sound like fluttering refractions of light, if the color spectrum was capable of emanating such audible sound. Maybe it truly is, but I’m not up on my science. There’s also a nice easy organic percussion, which sounds played rather than programmed. It provides a cozy comfortable bed for the scintillating sounds to recline and drift off into those in-between states.
I could totally see “Tomorrow” making it into one of Tycho‘s early morning DJ sets. Shy Layers sports a similar relaxed and naturalistic vibe, synthesized from the vintage ether and crafted from the homegrown earth. So far, this one’s my favorite piece I’ve heard from Walsh’s second album, last year’s “Midnight Marker.” But there’s plenty more to explore, if you’re in the mood to slow your roll and slip and slide into this semi-ambient groove.
Check out Shy Layers’ “Tomorrow” today … or tonight, depending on your time zone and/or state of mind. Hopefully, in the next day or two, I’ll muster up some energy and inspiration to tackle some of the aforementioned posts I’ve hinted at hitting. Until then, enjoy where this one takes you.
“Tomorrow” from the 2018 album “Midnight Marker”