04. Cuillin (Interlude)
If you were to peruse Sithu Aye‘s Facebook page or Bandcamp before you listened to any of his music, it would be easy to draw some quick conclusions about him. You might say something like “not another one-man instrumental djent artist!”; but if you did say that, I would tell you to lay your preconceptions at the door. Sithu Aye is good.
Now, normally I try to come into reviews unbiased and usually I can just stand on the outside and look in. That said, the rise of djent is really hard to ignore, and if you have taken any interest in the genre then it quickly becomes apparent that it has become overcrowded and derivative. This holds true for Isles, more or less. It sounds exactly how you would expect an instrumental djent project would. Despite this, Sithu Aye has found himself a nice little niche in the overpopulated world.
The thing that sets him apart from the rest of the crowd is a devout focus on leads, tapping, and solos that create a bright and inspirational atmosphere. Right from the get-go, the title track whisks you away with soothing piano and keys, a mellow bass line and the bright twangy chords we’ve come to expect from extended range guitars. Transitioning nicely into the soulful `Skye,’ we get a nice summary of what to expect from Isles: it has tapping sections, syncopated chugging, leads and solos around every corner; you name it. It’s the whole package wrapped up with a bow on top – though it is hardly the tip of the iceberg.
‘Islay‘ is by far my favorite on the EP. I’m probably just partial to groove, but I’ll be damned if this groove doesn’t get your blood pumping and your head banging; it’s the one track I urge you to listen to, if nothing else. On top of that, there is also a nice little interlude which builds on the leads and clean sections – you could almost call it a reprisal of the track. With only two tracks left, Sithu has already taken me on quite a journey.
One of the things I really appreciate about Sithu is the way he combines elements of other djent artists in a way that is reflective and not derivative. If I didn’t know any better, I would say that Chris Letchford and Tosin Abasi traded off chords and tapping while Misha Mansoor soloed and chugged along with them. It’s uncanny how precise his tone and style is. Furthermore, the bass is quite is as clear as day and harmonizes with the guitars in a spectacular fashion. My critique for the EP is few and far between, but I’m not fond of the cymbals. They sound a bit too compressed, but who am I to complain about cymbals, right?
Overall, this is a great little record. The compositions and layering are all very fluid and there is a lot of content to come back to. The scope and variety in play styles that Sithu achieves is noteworthy. It’s hard to think that this was all thought up by one guy. Given that this is only one guy, what he achieved is pretty impressive.
Sithu Aye – Isles gets…