Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Saturday, June 22, 2024 — Houston, TX

Sun Airway: an underground gemstone



By Anthony Lauriello     2/17/11 6:00pm

While I often find myself traversing the soundscape of underground Philadelphia-based indie electronic bands for the newest sounds, I never expected to find a gem like Sun Airway's Nocturne of Exploded Crystal Chandelier. In fact, the only reason I listened to the album in the first place was because Dead Oceans, one of my favorite record companies, produced it. The debut album of duo Patrick Marsceill and Jon Barthmus' ambient sound not only echoed in my ears but made a profound comment on the transient nature of relationships ?and love. The album begins with the song "Infinity," a fitting title as the synthesizer in the introduction creates an almost limitless feel to the listener. It is as if one is wandering through the paintings of surrealist Salvador Dali, endlessly searching for meaning. The opening rhythms soon give way to Barthmus' voice, which has the light and airy sound of Owl City's Adam Young but is grounded in a sort of inexplicable sadness. This tone continues throughout the album, even though the music is primarily pop in nature. This combination might not seem as if it would work, but Sun Airway pulls it off with a sincerity that would rival a ?young choirboy's.

The strongest song on the album is "Waiting on You," a lament about a love that can never be. Lyrics such as "I'm guessing we wandered too close to the water/The current's been sweeping us in," tell a tale that we can all relate to, of external circumstances ruining the desires of heart. The song begins with complexity, but as its passion grows it becomes almost a cappella as Barthmus skips octaves and croons in a way that is reminiscent of Animal Collective. Other strong selections include the instrumental-heavy "Shared Piano" and the fast-paced ballad "Oh, Naoko."

While the album impressed me with its consistent quality, the final song "Five Years," clocking in over seven minutes, stood out as going on too long. Sun Airway seems to have expanded the song so much that they seem to lose sight of the listener.

The album description says that Nocturne of Exploded Crystal Chandelier would serve as an excellent soundtrack to a Sofia Coppola movie. I could not agree more, but the music also serves as a great accompaniment to this bleak and gray February. As you arm yourself against the cold with your peacoat, scarf and cardigan, bring along Sun Airway's newest creation as well. ?

More from The Rice Thresher

NEWS 6/5/24 7:37pm
NOD permanently canceled, Rice strips away-decades old campus tradition

After 50 years of decadence, Wiess College’s infamous underwear party is no more.  Born in the early 1970s after a group of Wiess students poured all their alcohol into a bathtub — creating a brew “so potent it removed the varnish” — Night of Decadence has spent years in the national eye. Allegedly recognized as one of Playboy’s top college parties in the nation, NOD has also been subject to mounting scrutiny over alcohol use and an “explicitly dangerous and sexual atmosphere.” Rice has now permanently canceled the public, Dean of Undergraduates Bridget Gorman and Wiess magister Flavio Cunha announced in a message to campus June 5.

NEWS 5/24/24 11:48am
Rice Mutual Aid partners with student organizations to fundraise for Gaza

Rice Mutual Aid launched a fundraising campaign for Gaza on May 13 in partnership with 15 other student organizations at Rice, including Rice Students for Justice in Palestine, Rice Pride, the Hispanic Association for Cultural Enrichment at Rice and the Rice Muslim Student Association. RMA will direct donations towards American Near East Refugee Aid, a non-governmental organization that provides humanitarian aid and emergency relief in Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan. A day after its launch, the campaign raised over $2,000 according to RMA’s Instagram.


Please note All comments are eligible for publication by The Rice Thresher.