India Sky – Somewhere Over the Mystic Moon

2.2.23 by Matty McPherson

Take a moment to reset yourself with approaching India Sky. It’s the latest release from Ratskin Records, the Oakland based mecca for sublime and smatterings of non-hegemonic arts within the region. The label’s no stranger to noise and industrial, but often times its in their pop-oriented offerings that blessed diamonds and sublime matters seem to come to fruition. India Sky’s Somewhere Over the Mystic Moon is precisely in this realm.

An unexpected, but not uncommon theme with the 2023 releases I’ve been noting so far is that they happen to stem from film works. India Sky originally composed over half the material on Somewhere Over the Mystic Moon for her short film, The Life Cycle of Rainbows, released in 2021. But here, this is more a piece of context than an immediate epiphany about the recordings. Her nine synthpop cuts (two of which are simple interlude-sized sleights) are based within a simplistic, yet engrossing songwriting structure: large synthesizer loops that become a periphery for India Sky’s open-armed vocals and steadfast percussive rhythms; enough to grip one on their own. At times it can really slink off and transport to its own galaxy. In other moments it recalls Spellling’s Pantheon of Me as much as the brevity of downtime present in house music. The tempo and its genre-magpie nature are never languid though and the cuts and their emotive affects slowly reveal themselves over time; thus what is often presented in front of you at first warrants a keen ear and a patience with the process.

This is what made Bottom of the Sea and in particular, Breakdown, such gripping singles. For the former, it gave a sugar rush of an intro and a punchdrunk, thumping pre-chorus before it’d even completely built up. Yet, it subverted the whole affair by staying in that liminal space and enveloping you like a cocoon. Breakdown’s paean to a love found between the dancefloor and stars is ingenious in its subtle ability to chart a love with euphoric synths and sudden heartbeat-pining percussion, as India Sky weaves a small situated tale together with minimal detailing that is enough to feel universal and open-armed.

Yet outside of these two singles, there’s still a slow burn kaleidoscopic vision of India Sky’s intersection of theatrics and visual projections. The slinking yet seductive, telgraphed crashing clanks of Like a Wave. The Northern Lights evoking cut Begin Again that casts a regenerative spell in it the way India Sky’s voice is dubbed over and harmonizes into a liquid, glistening bliss and mantra. The reverb and pitter-patter of Dark Symphony that serves to champion India Sky and her own self-actualization, as much as guiding us to the Rainbow Gate. All of these cuts provide a glimpse though outside of her short film. They are an actual tantalizing image of her turning to synthpop for an evocative kind of soul-bearing release; one that’s angelic harmonics can become a form of healing and communal respite. In other words, India Sky’s latest for Ratskin Records indeed hits at a special prowess the label has, amplifying a heartfelt and personal call to one’s own community.

Limited Edition Chrome Hi Bias Cassette with 4 Panel Cassette JCard and full color stick on labels available at the Ratskin Records Bandcamp Page