Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Cumulus - Nothing Matters (HWY003)

drones and trichomes - peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

A few months ago, I reached into the nug luv bag for a stellar tape from an incipient label based in Asheville NC, Headway Recordings.  On that occasion, Headway enchanted us with the fascinating guitar compositions of Tashi Dorji.  With their latest release - Nothing Matters by Cumulus - Headway moves into drone, looking to re-calibrate your brainwaves via patient, slowly unfolding dark ambient soundscapes.  Dark may be an overstatement - especially when one considers the warmer shades of sound throughout the album and definitely conspicuous on the opener, "Vermis".  Yet, this prodigious initial offering from Cumulus  exists in an area of the aural spectrum that is a confluence of warm and dark ambient art.  Cumulus is the project of Leon Liebenberg, and his aural dreams are realized with acoustic instrumentation, processed field recordings, bass and beats.  Upon listening to this for the first time, I quickly noticed Leon's acuity and adroit ability in the use of space - and the pace of the tracks - to augment the poignancy of the sonics.  The music unfolds naturally - nothing is contrived.  Additionally, he employs beats, which take the drones to a higher strata.

It enters your body much like the golden morning sun, as it shines through your window and graces the interior of the room with its embryonic warmth and promise.  'Vermis', the opening track, soon drifts through the unadulterated air with its resonating bass lines, horn and beats.  'Sondag' features pulsating tones that periodically swell juxtaposed to heavy beats that gradually increase in stature.  In this instance, the beats endow the exquisite sound with a sense of urgency.  The flipside contains one track, 'Stuck Out Here'.  The heavy dissonance in the beginning is stunning, and it reminds me of something from Tim Hecker.  There is a disconcerting, yet extremely beautiful feeling to side B.  Even through the opaque sheet of noise, hopeful tones are audible.  Later in the track early forming tones echo, trying to survive in the pulsating darkness.  The ending is particularly beautiful, as the track fades into the consuming night sky.

Nothing Matters is a wonderful experience in sound and released by one of the best young labels.  Here's to hoping that the second release from Cumulus arrives quickly!  Such an impressive release is sure to sell quickly - buy your copy directly from Headway Recordings.

peace and love, friends :)