I’ve always pondered what makes a particular genre album “better” than the others. There’s a good deal of subjectivity in play here—what works for me might not for someone else—but I suspect there’s more to it than that. I listen to and write about a lot of dark ambient music, and it’s still hard to try to describe why I like a certain album more than others, especially when they play by such similar rules. Reflections under the Sky is a fitting example of this. The debut from SiJ (Vladislav Sikach) and Textere Oris (Ilya Fursov) sounds, on the surface, like countless other genre efforts: somber keyboards waft to and fro over field recordings of rain and static, with the odd bit of treated guitar drone and other filtered and pitched effects gently snaking their way through the mix. In some places, such as “Behind the Window,” the music’s a dead ringer for past classics: in the case of this track, Brian Lustmord and Robert Rich‘s seminal album, Stalker. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, first because Stalker is rife with brilliant yet desolate passages, and because the template Sikach and Fursov follow is a time-tested and time-proven one.