How long has it been?
I remember that first time I heard “Decade” on a Paste Magazine sampler. I can recall the experience of that first time because every single time I hear that track, it feels like the first time. I’m not kidding either. I listen to its ever-so slow building, the grinding incremental emotional ascent and that sustained plateau. It is post-industrial trip-hop soul, like Trent Reznor being covered by Alicia Keys produced by Massive Attack. I soon learned that Cloudeater apparently like these kinds of mash-up descriptions, but the thing is they never truly come close to defining what it is that these guys do so well. The voodoo they lay down really is something else.
That’s why each time you hear one of their tracks, you start all over again, stretching and straining your critical ear, focusing in on that one element that stands out, this time. You’ve got it, you’ve nailed it down and as soon as you’re sit back, contented, something else tickles your fancy and you’re right back at it.
I need to thank the band, so I’m going to do it here and now. They have been instrumental in making my transition to social media (via Twitter) an enjoyable and engaging affair. They, along with some wonderfully likeminded artists like Emily Wells, Ava DuVernay and Nash Edgerton, have become part of my go-to reserves. I seek them out when I need to recharge my batteries after too much of the same-old, same-old. And more importantly, thanks to social media, I can reach out and thank them by spreading the word about their projects or through a line of two of appreciative encouragement. As readers, I think we sometimes forget that to be critically engaged also entails a certain creativity as well. To see and hear and translate the image, the word, the sights and sounds, requires an openness of sense and soul, which demands nourishment.
Which leads me back to Cloudeater, at last. For the first time, I’m putting it down for them in form and format worthy of all that they have given me. terrencetodd, up til now, has been all about my musings on movies, the motion plays and players that grace the screen, but it is time to extend the range a bit, to connect the dots. The time is now for…”Purge,” the latest online single from Cloudeater and the title track from their new album.
There is space in the mix, the kind that Miles would have wandered. The end of days or the beginning, does it matter? It just goes on. Atmospheric guitar – think Kurt Rosenwinkel with Q-Tip at the soundboard – the modern plains with nothing but power lines for miles and miles – and then the vocals, a mix of rock and blues calling, waiting for a response out there in the distance. Waiting “to be washed away, for all that we’ve done.” This is World War Z covered by Cormac McCarthy.
“We’ll run into the blast, headlong. Yearning to burn.”
And the response comes. The soundscape fills with stuttering movement, echo upon echo, buzzed and edgy. This is the cinematic “purge” promised but woefully unfulfilled. I sometimes wish filmmakers would look beyond the ordinary sources for material. Forget the great books that aren’t asking to be adapted or the movies barely a decade or a generation old that were perfectly fine the first time around. Listen to the tension in music, the voices of characters sketched out in a scattered collection of verses and maybe, just maybe there’s a story in there yearning to be told.
Cloudeater, in this first single, strips away all the definitions. It is music, a communication, a call. Be prepared to answer, but beware – this is just about a single. The whole thing might be more than you can handle.
Thank you, Cloudeater.