When it comes to sound in electronic music, creating and mastering a sonically patented world is the objective of a lot of musicians. An audible watermark that doesn’t require much thinking is key and also a sign of self-aware maturity in an artist. Through work with Columbus electronic musician CoastalDives and over their own past two EPs, Columbus’ Henry Blaeser has fancily crafted an actively ethereal sound palette that is both excitable and attainable. Cloud represents a very positive and experimental step in an interesting direction.
The first and self-titled track seems to sonically point toward the bright white giants we see during this time of the year. The song starts off with bright, warm, and summery vibes, while also providing a solid dance groove that will make most want to shuffle around. Once “Cloud” gets cooking, it starts to soar with introspective electronic echoes that are super inventive and non-repetitive. And even when they do sound off again, Blaeser’s palette of quirky sounds are presented and used in imaginative ways that keep them from sounding repetitive.
As is true with “Cloud,” the bizarre layering of the vocals on Cloud’s second track, “Sinking,” is very subversive. It drowns you in odd harmonies that sound magnificently fresh. While “Cloud” sounds like a cosmic day surrounded by some fresh water, “Sinking” fits more in the category of being at home and in your thoughts. Although the song still has interestingly bright components, it’s still an introspective shift in tone.
The wordplay on “Sinking” is crafty, sleek, and pensive. However, this shift also makes it easier to concentrate on the lyrics. At about two-and-a-half minutes in, there’s a shorty, quirky breakdown that intimately aligns with the song’s change in pace. But the eccentric tones aren’t quite done building yet! One minute later, Blaeser almost totally breaks away from the song’s form here with an intimate guitar serenade and angelic backing.
What I observed Blaeser doing on 2021’s Quarry EP was creating a dialogue in the music by shifting the mood with obscure vocal effects. Blaeser continued to improve on that with Cloud. The sugary and inventive noises that Blaeser experiments with are reason alone to pay attention. But their ability to blend so many unique, playful properties together and make it work throughout a four-minute song is impressive, and it continued to shine on Cloud.
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