Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cloudland Ballroom - Infinite Mind [Sonic Meditations]

Infinite Mind is a nice tape of synthesizer, drum machine and shruti box on Justin Wright's (Expo 70) Sonic Meditations imprint, which is also responsible for dropping a sweet J.D. Emmanuel reissue recently. I don't really know anything about this Cloudland Ballroom, or if it's related to that Cloudland Canyon band or if the names are just a coincidence. Either way, you can keep the Canyon, I'll take the Ballroom.
I guess James R. Moore is the fellow behind the project and he sure as hell knows what he's doing. The first side covers "Part 1," and spacey signals are the introductory sounds. Oscillations, cosmic sweeps and woozy tones extend across the stereo spectrum. Some actual electric-piano-ish tones appear altering the concept and sharpening the focus. One of the great elements of the piece is how amorphous and expansive it feels but when the matter begins to gather around a few gravitational points--namely the aforementioned keyboard notes and lush synth-strings--Cloudland Ballroom hits it's stride. They hit upon an area that features significant float but never relinquishes its weight. The piece settles somewhat toward the end, landing on a slowly LFO'd bass note. With a subtle boom, a slippery sequenced melody fades in and out, notes drip down bathing the circuitry and we're struck with a forceful drone, unflinching and unfazed. A little drum machine sizzle at the end pumps things up, burning away another layer of ozone. Though even in it's climactic conclusion, Moore's composition never leaves the world it began in.
This a really deep bit of cosmic drones, so much going on. Totally transportive. And that's not even the end of the tape! The thing's got a whole 'nother side!
The spools on "Part 2" get rollin' with a muted jet flying between the two channels. A low percussion loop materializes quietly along with a few phantom synth notes. All that is washed away in favor of a few bold drones. Moore rides the drones for a long while before bringing up a drum machine bumping halfway between a chug and a swing. A few keyboard arpeggios are sprinkled around, but mainly Moore keeps the groove solid. This one's an easy-going jammer.
Still in print at Sonic Meditations, peep it

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