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Remarkable Dark Ambient Soundscapes,
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This review is from: Cloud to Ground [VINYL] (Vinyl)
If you heard that this album features John Paul Jones and thought you would be hearing something along the lines of Them Crooked Vultures or his excellent solo album Zooma, well you might be in for a disappointment. There are no blistering basslines, or cleverly orchestrated melodies. If, however, you like Brian Eno style ambient soundscapes with a sinister edge, this is well worth a look.
Cloud to Ground is an experimental album by Helge Sten and John Paul Jones which features them both playing various instruments into a computer program called Kyma which digitises and distorts them in various interesting ways. All very well but what does it sound like? There doesn’t seem to be a sensible way to describe an ambient album apart from by the emotional atmosphere it creates. The first piece, Black Aurora, is a 4 part ambient soundscape full of sinister rumblings and growls that pulses in the distance, providing an ominous sense of unease lurking in the background. Taking up the first side of the LP, this is a great track to listen to on a cold grey morning, as it sets a sinister tone that occasionally explodes into something more immediate. The remaining tracks continue in a similar vein with brighter digital textures mixed into the subsonic rumbles, and at one point the crashing chords of a church organ emerge swirling through the distortion.
This package contains both the Vinyl and CD versions of Cloud to Ground pressed on 180g vinyl from the 24 bit masters. For those of us who usually prefer analog source for our vinyl it’s worth remembering the process that made this album is fundamentally one of digital manipulation. The vinyl is quiet and sounds great, but the CD might get more use for convenience sake. You’ll find the CD version in a plastic sleeve inside the main sleeve. Artwork wise you’ll find an appropriately sinister abstract design with the track listing hidden on the inside of sleeve. Not that a track listing is especially important here. This the sort of album you’ll leave on in the background to set a certain mood or tone, or lose yourself in at the end of a long day. If that sounds like your sort of thing then for the price it’s a steal.