Chilling noise comes seeping through our stereo speakers as we descend upon the first glimpses of sound contained in “Prélude,” the opening track in Book of Clouds’ new albumLivre De Nuages Vol 1, and as we press on, it slowly evolves into an abstract melody that we simply can’t escape from in the five songs that follow. Using the term “song” seems a little out of place when describing what Book of Clouds has assembled for us in this set of live recordings, as there is neither structure nor rhythm to any of the music that we discover in the whole of the LP. That said, the textural pulse of these tracks is almost certain to leave you in a daze by the time you finish listening to this awesomely experimental record.
If there’s a story to be told in this album, it isn’t one that is delivered unto us by conventional means at all whatsoever. It’s conveyed to us purely through the guitar noise that effervescently glows in “Chapitre 3” the midsection of its predecessor. If you live for ambient textures, this is an LP that you should consider required listening in 2019, as its robust foundation is formed out of the gritty acrylic tension that is created when two polarizing agents of sound meet head-on in a battle of the bulging basslines. Ian C. Bouras and Federico Balducci aren’t trying to be Lennon and McCartney in Book of Clouds; actually, they’re in fact striving to create something much more instinctual and primitive than any other pop musicians have before.
he master mix here is angelic but tightly wound in every one of these tracks, making it really easy for us to embrace every understated nuance in the bass, middle and treble without ever encountering a cloudy, unlistenable patch of sonic dribble. I can’t imagine what it would be like to see Book of Clouds in a small, insular club; while they’re far from Sunn (O))), their quaking heaviness is probably the most memorable component of any given performance. It certainly had a lasting impact on me after listening to “Chapitre 4” and “Chapitre 5” at full volume recently – an experiment that I would only recommend to listeners with a trained ear for sharply-appointed, droning ambient dirges.
Livre De Nuages Vol 1 is, without a doubt, the most stirring piece of music that I have had the pleasure of listening to all year long, and that’s no small statement to make when you consider the vast amount of organic talent that has emerged from the underground in this first quarter of 2019. Book of Clouds aren’t restricted by the commercial interests of pop music, and they definitely could care less about what the mainstream model for melodies consists of; their mission is centered on developing the most incredible improvisations that two individuals can muster with effects pedals and a guitar, and I must say, what they accomplish in this record is nothing short of stunning. There’s no scarcity of good music due out this year, but I highly recommend giving this album some of your time this month – I have a gut-feeling that you won’t regret it.
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