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New Clouds

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Album Review

As clichéd as it can be to say that an album is "aptly named," White Rainbow's New Clouds truly has a fitting title. Adam Forkner's second Kranky release blends and builds its layers of sound into tracks that are as softly dense and massive as towering cumulus clouds. If this album sounds even more quintessentially of its label than Prism of Eternal Now did, it shouldn't be surprising: Forkner toured with fellow Kranky denizens Atlas Sound and Valet in support of that album, and those groups' hypnotic haze inspired him to make his own music more expansive and atmospheric. New Clouds' enmeshed percussion, guitars, vocals, and synths complement each other more organically than ever before, suggesting avant electronics, drone rock, and blissful new age without borrowing from any of those styles too obviously. Forkner channels this newfound subtlety into four tracks that are dynamic despite their softness. Where Prism of Eternal Now kept at least a few toes on terra firma, New Clouds whisks listeners away immediately with "Tuesday Rollers and Strollers," which finds bliss in repetition over the course of 18 minutes. At the heart of the track, two acid-tinged guitar melodies play against each other, slowly building momentum as hand drums and crunchy and droning electronic textures cushion them. Forkner's vocals don't appear until ten minutes in, and they're carried off on whooshing synth pad tides as the song closes. The rest of the album is slightly more subdued after this striking beginning, but no less intriguing. "All the Boogies in the World" puts tribal, linear drones through circular vocals, and becomes more and more elongated so gradually that the shift is almost imperceptible; "Major Spillage" — the album's shortest track at a mere 12 minutes — offers some breathing room from New Clouds' major pieces with gliding guitars that reflect and refract like ripples in a pool. "Monday Boogies Forward Forever" closes the album by bringing its earlier explorations together in a gently wild piece anchored by a serene bassline and topped by chanting vocals. Impressively impressionistic, New Clouds is a rare mix of restful and engaging, and a significant step forward for Forkner.


Born: Portland, OR

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

White Rainbow is the solo project of Portland-based experimental/psychedelic musician Adam Forkner, who also played with Yume Bitsu and Surface of Eceon and works with Valet's Honey Owens as the duo World. As White Rainbow, Forkner plays music that is wide-ranging, encompassing lengthy pieces inspired by La Monte Young, Tangerine Dream, and Miles Davis, and he has also created multimedia installation works. In 2003, he released [[[[VVRSSNN]]]], which fused the space rock of Yume Bitsu with forays...
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New Clouds, White Rainbow
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