Damon Krukowski and Naomi Yang Credit: Courtesy the artist

One of the few positive aspects of the pandemic is how it’s highlighted the importance and irreplaceability of our relationships, even as a tangled web of geographic and public health considerations has often made it unclear when (or even if) we might be able to see one another after prolonged separation. A Sky Record, the new album from Boston dream-pop duo Damon & Naomi and Japanese experimental guitarist Michio Kurihara, was born out of a friendship that started a quarter century ago, when Damon Krukowski and Naomi Yang met Kurihara’s old band, long-running Japanese psych outfit Ghost. The two groups joined forces for the 2000 release Damon & Naomi With Ghost and kept the door open for further collaborations; Kurihara and fellow Ghost guitarist Masaki Batoh contributed to Damon & Naomi’s 2011 album False Beats and True Hearts. The material on A Sky Record began to take shape when Damon & Naomi toured Japan in 2019 and met with Kurihara to record at suburban Tokyo studio Peace Music, and reached its final form while the musicians were isolated on opposite sides of the globe. Serene opener “Oceans in Between” conjures just this sort of circumstance, with Yang singing about love and longing across a vast distance before Kurihara’s electrifying guitar solo appears like a wistful message in a bottle that’s somehow reached its intended recipient from a world apart. “Split Screen” grapples with how technology can bring us together while making us feel further apart, but throughout the album, water and nature remain ever present, and each song rolls like a gentle wave. (This might be because during quarantine Kurkowki and Yang developed an interest in the BBC’s Shipping Forecast, which broadcasts the conditions on the seas around the British Isles—they even pay tribute to the program in the sublime “Sailing By.”) As solemn as A Sky Record can get, it never feels weighed down by its burdens and heartaches. At times it taps into the beauty of caring enough to be hurt by loss, but it also feels like a quiet celebration of resilience—and of the knowledge that this too shall pass.  v