Heavy Cloud - hush become a bright nowhere

Released: May 31

Eminently known for constructing intricate audio collages, Heavy Cloud returns with an new album whose name borrows a line from the poet Seamus Heaney and strips it of its original context so that it can be replaced with a different context - one of pure ambiguity that sums up the wandering nature of the album presented to us. Even in the first track, aptly titled "drifting between scenes: anonymous, listening, recording," we are thrown headlong into the vast and varied nature of the album. It's difficult to say how many discrete scenes there are in this nearly fourteen minute long piece (perhaps twenty or so?), but the transitions are purposefully fuzzing and unclear at times.  There are moments where the scene is easy to visualize - such as a pub in which a lively bit of music is playing among the clinks and tinks of flatware and glasses. But as soon as the scene becomes perfectly clear, we are tossed out of it and into one much less clear. 

As for some of the shorter tracks on the album, they tend to be a bit more thematic static like "the warning whirr and burring of the bird" which features the sounds you may expect but with a rather varied delivery. It begins with some archaic sounding mechanical sounds, as if these are hand-powered tools devoid of the assistance of steam or combustion engines. Then it becomes exceedingly quiet until the moaning and groaning of dilapidated metal structures come into focus. It is not until "a soul ramifying and forever: in 3 parts" that we get another long form track. But this one is nothing like the first - there are no scenes, there is only the soft noises and the words of of a poem or prose being read aloud in a hypnotic tone as singing vocalizations surround it. It's feels very uncomfortable to me, primarily because of the speakers tone and pace. What should feel calming and passive, feels uneasy while also being hypnotic. It's difficult to describe but this audio trick is executed quite well. 

The album closes with "these are the voices of time," which coincidentally contains no prominent voices, only those buried under a static-y glow. Their covering in only partial though, as it leaves just enough to be detected as a voice speaking but never enough to have any hope of understanding. It is rather fitting though, as the voices from the past are almost unrecognizable as voices. At best, such voices are barely whispers in the face of the inevitable progression of time. But that, in my opinion, is what this album seems to communicate. Over a long enough period of time, that boldly spoken word becomes a hush, which then becomes a nowhere or a nothing. Just a long forgotten and barely remembered utterance. 


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