Review: Gregory Uhlmann – Small Day

Gregory Uhlmann - Small Day

Big day for Small Day

(This article was written by Pingu Davis)

Imagine this: you’ve just landed in a new country in the middle of the night. You can recognize and make out certain landmarks, but you’re disoriented, surrounded by a ton of new, different things. You enjoy the “newness” of everything, but still aren’t sure how to feel about it… That’s what Gregory Uhlmann’s new project Small Day sort of feels like. It’s non-abrasive, and different than anything I’ve heard. If you’ve ever played Minecraft and listened to the music done by C418, this is slightly reminiscent.

The introductory track “Phosphene” starts out with a few layers of some very clean and twinkly sounds, which sound guitar-ish in nature. It’s hard to pinpoint what exactly it is. It’s curious and adventurous, but only to an extent. The melodies never become harsh or “too much”, almost as if there’s a threshold for unexpectedness. There’s a cool and interesting drumming machine used further into the song, which I thought was a nice aspect.

Moving on to the second track “Mint Chip”, we’re greeted with the same clean/twinkly sounds, although on this track they sound more electric. There’s a low-key beat, or rather multiple beats, all radiating different sounds. The song remains fairly similar throughout, only progressing slightly—whether that’s a good thing or not is up to you. I found it to be really dependent on why you’re listening to music in that moment. If you want something louder, fast moving, and stimulating, this isn’t the song for you. If you want something to play as a sort of background noise that is pleasing to the ear and not too much at once, this is a perfect choice for that.

Third track “Apple Head” is instantly different than what can be heard on the first two tracks. It’s immediately more boppy, loud, and features its instruments/sounds more profoundly. About halfway through the song, it personally became a bit too video game soundtrack sounding. Like all songs on this album, that can be either a good or bad thing. And this time I found it to be maybe a bit too far off from the mood/vibe created in the first two tracks.

The 4th track “Sea Anemone” sets off with a dark and solemn piano progression that becomes more pretty and less intimidating further into the song. This is accompanied by a simple and deep drum rhythm that fades away completely towards the end of the song, leaving only the piano and various and tasteful sound effects. This is an interesting song to hear and it’s not necessarily a bad experience, but once it was over I didn’t find myself yearning for more of what I just heard. It was chill but I was looking forward to moving on.

Track 5, “Axles” is what I think of as the “trendsetter” on this album. It’s moving, very adventurous and progressive, and just feels and sounds right. This one features some abrasive drums, guitar, and what sounds like it could be a woodwind? It’s layered nicely and listens very well. It’s constantly grabbing your attention and making you focus in on it. This was definitely my favorite track on the album.

6th track “Odds and Ends” was one I also grew particularly fond of. There’s a nice rhythm set as well as some nice harmonizing of instruments. But where I thought this song stood out most was the flute solo. It worked nicely and had a very pretty tone. The track closes with some ambient percussion, as well as some string plucking.

Nearing the end with track 7 “Dunes”, I found it to be forgettable. It was unique its own way and there’re some elements to it that I can appreciate, but compared to the entire album, especially the tracks leading up to it, it felt out of place. It felt too slow, too similar throughout, and too uninteresting.

Wrapping up this entire project, we have track 8, “Levers”. There’s moving and impactful piano, as well as some drone-type noises going on in the background. It definitely paces back to the mood/vibe that can be heard in the opening tracks.

Overall, I enjoyed this album for what it was, but I found there to be a few too many inconsistencies laced throughout this project. I felt it was structured a bit oddly and changed themes/mood confusingly; however, I’d still recommend giving this a listen. It’s not gonna blow your socks off, but it’s interesting, entertaining at times, and fun.

3/5 Flaming Toilets Ov Hell

Small Day is out on February 23rd via Colorfield Records.

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