By Owen Zoll
This week on Neue Haus we’re taking a break from rhythm to explore the wider possibilities of unconstrained sound. Our two main artists both make what you could call “ambient” music, but they do it in two very different ways. Expect to hear sounds this week that sound as if they are coming from a different planet; also expect to hear periods where all you hear is a sea of ambient noise, noise not too dissimilar from the infinite expanse of space.
Visible Cloaks’ highly digitized, synthetic brand of ambient music draws easy comparisons with Oneohtrix Point Never and PC Music, music that uses progressive electronic sounds to make conceptual statements about tangible things like adolescence and consumer culture. However, the Portland duo are significantly less on-the-nose about their sounds; their Bandcamp dubs their music-making as “environment design,” and new EP Lex, released on RVNG Intl., is “a hopeful glimpse into the future inter-being of human and post-human inhabitants” instead of a value-neutral portrayal of the present. Visible Cloaks are optimists, and Lex is beautiful, using synthetic languages and sounds to formulate a future that all of us want to live in.
Our other record is a more conventional ambient collaboration, or at least that’s how it feels - on new album Finding Shore, Tom Rogerson and Brian Eno simply throw shit at the wall and see if it sticks. A funny way to look at an ambient record, for sure, but that’s how it feels when listening to the album; after all, Rogerson is an established improvisational pianist, and that improvisational tone gives the album a feeling of singularity and messy livelihood that happily contradicts its New Age aesthetic. It’s a route-one effort at draping beautiful music across time in an interesting way, and with two musicians as talented as Rogerson and Eno, it pays off.
Beyond these two, we’ve got several other interesting experiments this week. We’ll be hearing a bracing track from NPVR, the side project of Factory Floor’s Nik Void with Peter Rehberg. We’ll be hearing a song from synthwave magician Johnny Jewel, off of his new album Digital Rain. Finally, there are songs from Silvia Kastel, Organ Tapes, and Porches. The show is at 3, and it’ll go up on Mixcloud in the next few days - happy listening!