Friday, April 17, 2015
Cassette Review: Cold Clouds "Cold Clouds" (Outward Records)
[$6 // Edition of 20 // https://outwardrecords.bandcamp.com/album/cold-clouds]
Cold Clouds make snow, right? Sometimes I say it's too cold to snow but my wife never believes that's a thing. This is the third release by Cold Clouds (as per the Bandcamp page) and it's always curious to me when an artist comes up with a self-titled release later on in their catalog as opposed to it being first in line. It's kind of like, well, you came up with two album titles before this so now you're going to play the self-titled card? But to be fair I can't really tell an artist to do with naming their music anymore than they can tell me what to do with naming, um, whatever it is that I name. So here we go!
Side A begins with sharp tings of feedback. There is a soft sound of piano and then magical chimes turn into urgent beats. This is an electronic symphony. Whirrs bring up a slightly Oriental feel, as if this could be from when Samurai Jack travels to the future. It's a little bit haunting, it's a little bit drone. With piano chords there are questionable vocals interlaced- and I say questionable because I'm not sure if they are there or if I am simply hearing things.
The cassette takes a manipulated turn into static glow beats. This is followed by "Tom Sawyer" type of synth and then it grows into a machine gun dance. There are big static beats and there are big static blasts as melodic keys are also present. A ringing, like the Liberty Bell, brings out vocal taunts, as if someone is tucked away in the background saying "na-na-na-na-na-naaa". That crystal glass synth comes out and this turns into some ambient bliss glow. There is an audio clip about the water being white and then funky elevator lasers.
On Side B we begin with an ambient swirl that goes into something electronic. It brings out these sharp, feedback tones that Alfred Hitchcock might have used during the changing of frequencies. Sounds of Transformers in bliss-filled crystal caverns. This pattern swirls and whirls like some sort of theme song set in the future. With radio static comes some grinding and noises to imply that some sort of beast is trying to escape this machine. It becomes uplifting and has a similarity to a million tiny robotic insects which have yet to be invented.
Some tape manipulation sees the demon trying to come through, but then there are static laser blasts which put it to a hold. This continues somewhere between ambience and drone as the slight waves just stretch and stretch as far as the mind can hear. Quiet whirrs begin to get trapped and shocked inside the bugzapper sound. Though it seems to try and be kept down, it does manage to come back glowingly as the decibal intensifies. It's squealing and wiped all over the place now. This might be lightsabers, but it could also be an unplugged chord or some sort of wire of electricity. A quiet crackling now, as we begin to fade back out. Some more tape manipulation attempts to pull us back into the fray.
Screwed spoken words take us into our next adventure. It's echoing. It feels like we are inside some kind of cave on a strange planet. As this loops and repeats in electronic droplets of something, I begin to feel as if we might be taken prisoner. Regardless, we then turn into this sort glitch video game with a dinging so it makes me think of pinball as well. Whatever was happening before has clearly stopped and now we're into heavier beats that are a bit slower in pace. I'm not sure if this is part of our sentence or if we have escaped but either way, this is getting more interesting by the second.
Electronic loops that could resemble Nine Inch Nails or any number of things lead into an audio clip where someone is asking people what they think about computers. Someone says they're terrifying and I'm inclined to agree. Beats come back in a trance pattern now and we've gone into the movie "Hackers" I do believe. This takes us into triumphant beats, like something Nas would use to declare victory over Jay Z. It makes you feel like we went to a planet full of aliens, had some trouble but then overcame it and now we will soon be returning to Earth victorious.
That did appear to be the end, but what a way to go out. I feel like Side A is taking us through a journey in space and the fact that these travelers landed on a new planet is why the water might be white. Additionally, Side B seems to continue that journey through various steps before we finally end on a high note and either return home or remain on this new planet as their leader. In any event, this is an electronic sci-fi trip that every fan of everything ever created should find themselves on.