I love artists who push music past the point of predictability (think Gungor). While not so far out there as Gungor, Chris Quilala’s first solo project “Split the Sky” pushes the boundaries of what modern worship music can be. It is a fresh fusion of retro tones married to modern production techniques, wrapped around a series of excellent songs.
Sonically, “Split the Sky” is a departure from typical Jesus Culture fare, while still featuring Chris’ signature melodies and passionate vocals. The production is impeccable, definitely calling on the 80’s for inspiration, but not overdone. It is the perfect blend of both live instruments and trippy digital synths, samples and effects. The rich, lush textures, minute details, painstaking drum programming, and layers and layers of ear candy will definitely make this an album you’ll want to enjoy with headphones.
You could label this album pop, you could label it rock, or you could just throw away labels and enjoy it.
You could label this album pop, you could label it rock, or you could just throw away labels and enjoy it. Songs like “Because of Your Love” have a Thrice Vheissu type vibe, while “Length of the Cross” features a Justin Timberlake-esque groove paired with catchy melodies that make you want to dance. “All To You” could be classified as recent Coldplay, and you might even hear some Justin Bieber styled vocal samples scattered throughout the album.
Excellently executed and masterfully mixed, musically this is a very creative and enjoyable album.
Lyrically, Chris keeps the songs on “Split the Sky” fresh and original, with only one reference to the over utilized worship favorite: “atmosphere”. While the themes may be familiar to Jesus Culture fans, the poetry seems somehow more introspective and heartfelt, like Chris’ personal prayers. Here are a few of my favorite lines:
“When my heart was prodigal and the lies were deafening, your love kept whispering to me.”
“Your love is a soldier, fighting a war.”
“There was a chasm uncrossable, there was a mountain unscalable. Even when my lost heart was unlovable, You spread your arms out, you laid your life down for me.”
While musically intricate, the songs are somehow simultaneously congregational. With a little simplification, your worship team could definitely pull these off for a church service.
In all, “Split the Sky” is a really strong first offering from Chris Quilala, and I look forward to hearing more of his solo projects in the future. Be sure to pick up a copy and prayerfully consider rearranging a few of these songs for your congregation.
Also See: “Your Mercy” by Paul Baloche – Review