Sierra Liora (1981) feels like the soundtrack to your memory of your favorite vacation. SCKE// takes recorded samples and couples them with tape loops, scratchy hiss, and other collaged sounds to give them an aura of mystification. One wonders if the voices heard in “Polaroid Part2” or “Airplane 1981” are culled from home video or audio. Or if SCKE// went back to the place that this album commemorates
The ambient passages that SCKE// creates are often memorable; opener “Airplane 1981” is the most affecting, with a nostalgic and warm soaring quality to it along with the safe sounds of recorded voices behind it. “Sand and the Sea (Version 1)” and the accompanying “Clearwater” evoke the gentle frolic of waves slapping the beach, with the patter of sand sizzling throughout.
Sierra Liora is warm and inviting, at its best inviting the listener to remember the best memories alongside SCKE//’s own soundscapes. And yet there’s often a melancholy undercurrent running through these tracks; “Polaroid Part2” and “Grain” tend to feel more decayed than the others, and “Hotel 3” and “Hotel 4” are only quick snippets as though those memories have faded over time. It has been 33 years since that 1981, of course, and some of those thoughts have surely been forgotten even though they were memorable at the time.
SCKE// crafts a very listenable release, and the most important aspect of it is that Sierra Liora (1981) feels like the listener isn’t ostracized from their own memories. It can be a difficult or enchanting album depending on how you listen.