A Journal Of The Dark Arts
Getachew Mekuria + John Coltrane + Count Zero = Cloud Diameters 2
“The story of evolution unfolds with increasing levels of abstraction.”
RAY KURZWEIL, How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed
“By the end of this decade, we will have full-immersion visual-auditory environments, populated by realistic looking virtual humans. By the 2030s, virtual reality will be totally realistic and compelling and we will spend most of our time in virtual environments. By the 2040s, even people of biological origin are likely to have the vast majority of their thinking process taking place in nonbiological substrates. We will all become virtual humans.”
RAY KURZWEIL, attributed, The Age of Virtual Reality
“Parallax Error,” the opening invocation from Cloud Diameter 2, creeps in with the warm, breathy sound of a tenor sax jamming along with a modular synth, like Ethio Jazz mystic Getachew Mekuria playing along with an AI in Yayoi Kusama’s The Infinity Room. Or John Coltrane‘s Meditations played out in some Virtual Plaza in the Uncanny Valley,
Except it’s not. In fact, there’s not one acoustic instrument to be found over Cloud Diameter 2‘s slight 30 minute runtime. Instead, each of its minimalist machine jazz meditations is summoned from nothing, using only VSTs and DAWs.
That, in-and-of-itself, isn’t that noteworthy. We write about plenty of all-electronic music here on Forestpunk, in all manner of formats and genres. What is striking, however, is how warm and organic much of Cloud Diameter 2 sounds. It sounds like something you might find of ECM had they stayed the course and continued putting out adventurous jazz and modern classical recordings instead of segueing to post-Kenny G smooth-jazz schmalz.
What we have here is the best of both worlds, a blending of the human and the machine. Cloud Diameter, on Cloud Diameter 2, release the assembly language infinitude hinted at in the music of Bach, combined with the unexpected harmonics of bebop and beyond. These oblique melodies are then spun together like fine silver into diadems of meditative melodies, angular as you please, yet as organic as an Amazonian drum circle.
This is accomplished via taste, tact, and attention to detail. Like on “Saturation Bell,” one of the more song-oriented offerings on display, where raw sine waves are sculpted to become an African marimba band. It sounds something like the Berlin School playing the music of Mali, but better.
It sounds something like the Berlin School playing the music of Mali, but better.
Cloud Diameter 2, clocking in at a scant half-an-hour, is doubled on this slight, mnml cassette tape from Submarine Broadcasting Co, perfect for endless repetitions and flipping out. I can’t express how many times i’ve already listened to this cassette during my few forays out into the world for groceries and supplies in the week or so since it arrived via the blinkered post office. It’s a welcome blast of cool, rarefied air in the scorching days of mid-August. I can’t recommend this one enough, along with a few other of the most recent offerings from Submarine Broadcasting Co. (but more on that in the very near future.)
Cloud Diameter 2 is out now on Submarine Broadcasting Co.