“A Sense of Uncertainty” is the title of a new EP from Good Weather for an Airstrike, the musical project of UK artist Tom Honey. Tom began his project about four years ago with the goal of creating sounds to help induce sleep and alleviate the suffering caused by tinnitus (ringing in the ears). He has produced quite a bit of material since then, but this EP shows that he may just now be hitting his stride as a composer and sound artist. With the last GWFAA album, “Lights”, he began to introduce more textures, melody, and structure into his pieces. On the new EP, that artistic growth stretches even further and the result is a very assured and cohesive record that strikes a lovely balance between cool ambience and warm emotion.
If the title of the record and the individual tracks are anything to go by, then perhaps the music is intended to capture the intense stillness one experiences in the moments of uncertainty before something life-changing is about to occur or be divulged. In those moments, senses are heightened, but everything seems to go into slow motion so that one is very aware of reality, but experiences feel quite surreal. The music here seems to capture such moments of emotional suspended animation. Perhaps this is a story the record is meant to convey or perhaps I am reading too much into it. In either case, it certainly worked for me to listen to it on that basis.
Just as there is a conceptual theme to the EP, a melodic theme runs throughout, but each piece renders it with different textures and with varying emotional impact. ‘Two Miles of Uncertainty’ establishes the sense of stillness and the melodic theme with its airy keyboards, swelling strings, and mellifluous choir like sounds. ‘Stop Everything It’s Snowing’ cleverly creates a sound picture that evokes the title through the use of single well-placed piano notes. ‘Lasting Effect’ introduces deeper bass tones and slightly droning keyboards and is the musical equivalent of a thousand-yard stare. ‘Are You OK’ is the most structured song with it’s pulsing bass line and it scales a dramatic arc before diffusing into the closing ‘Two Hours of Uncertainty’, in which the theme is repeated only with ethereal choral tones and the sounds of human voices and field recordings in the background. It all flows very smoothly and has a nice cinematic quality to it.
If you are a fan of Tom’s work, you will likely enjoy this subtle evolution in his sound. And if you have not had the pleasure of listening to Good Weather for an Airstrike, this would be a lovely place to start.
For a preview of the album, here is track number four, “Are You OK?”.