Record(s) of the Week

Visible Cloaks / Melanie Velarde

COVER_Visible-CloaksVisible Cloaks

It is evidence to the ambition of the two musicians behind Visible Cloaks that they are talking about “Reassemblage” as a collection of transitions between silence and sound that is supposed to appeal to the consciousness of the listener. Yeah, that is a way to describe what is happening on “Reassemblage” (the title is taken from a film essay from  Trin T Minha-ha) , a very ambitious mixture of new music, esoteric sounds and contemporary experimental sounds.

The music of Visible Cloaks is an operation on the open sound heart living up to the name. Contrary to many other current producers of sounds located between ambient and cosmic music it is not about the hackneyed expansion of found conditions for Spencer Doran and Ryan Carlile, but about a constant questioning. They are virtually looking for the constant negation of security, especially since they are not moving inside a clear ethnologic ascription with their music. The Visible Cloaks are seekers, sound explorers in the best sense, powered by a true interest in the cultural coherences and equipped with the sense of reality that it can not always be about understanding them finally and imposing your own interpretation on them, but to proceed into a curious, even freely playing network of relationships with it.
The result of an openness like this when dealing with sound material and textures sounds pleasantly uncategorizable, in one moment perfectly in a state of flux and almost meditative, in the next one already disturbing and arousing in a kind as if you were having a short nightmare during your afternoon nap and then abruptly wake up confused.
Therefore it isn’t really surprising that Doran and Carlile invited the internet artist Brenna Murphy to design the cover for “Reassemblage”. The artist who also comes from Portland, Oregon is known for her ambition to bring observations from the physical world into very idiosyncratic digital states. It might only surprise that they chose a rather homogenously arranged work from her.


Cover_Melanie-Velarde-ParcelMelanie Velarde

“Parcel” is the third release of the “Commend See” series initiated by the New York record store Commend, whose intention it is to bring musicians and visual artists in a process of artistic exchange that goes beyond the pure visualization of the sound.  In this case Christin Ripley, known for her work with psychedelic marble colored fabrics, got together with musician Melanie Velarde, who is specialized on field recordings. A combination that is self-explanatory, as both of them are cultivating a overtly displayed interest in the interplay of observation and transformation. Its focus lies not in presenting adequate representation, but rather in capturing deeper features and bringing them in equally independent states. One could say that both are conducting archaeological quests on their own terrain which are leading very deeply into the subject matter to confront what is found with additional findings.

Soundwise this is represented in the fluently arranged contrast of smooth sound scapes and very clearly and trenchantly played sequences, so that the motives are virtually pushing each other away – which is interesting in so far as the overall sound pattern of “Parcel” turns out very harmonious. The visual execution of Ripley takes up this geological way of thinking arranged into music by letting the cartographic landscape on the one side dissolve into itself and on the other side not lose its borders completely. I haven’t seen the idea of soft fences been visualized so beautifully; especially in times of Trump and co. a nice example how to deal with diverse influences.
Thomas Venker


Translation by Denise Oemcke.

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