For You: Visible Cloaks – Reassemblage
New Age tended to seek the natural within an age of urbanization and industrialization. The digital age was burgeoning, only a factor in the pressing of CDs and possibly an AOL homepage. The sounds were familiar: rain, pipes, hollow percussions. They depicted the ancient, or at least traditional, as a purveyor of simplicity against the collapse of home life in favor of work. That’s probably why it was so kitschy as it was capturing capitalism at its best: selling the snake oil of brief escapism.
Motion Graphics and Visible Cloaks may have aped some of New Age’s instruments, but it does not seek to exploit our fear of the new, but rather augment the phenomenon of digitalization into something as natural. Perhaps parallels are the key to integration, understanding the natural of the digital sound and subsequently adapting it to the larger repertoire of “accepted music”. It will only be so long when the next “progressive” pop artist will find ways to transform these sounds into more accessible beats and melodies.
I connected the middle of the album with the original Minecraft electronic music producer, C418, who had developed some of the most appropriate and awe-inspiring tracks in the last few years, simply for its achievement in capturing the aesthetic of Minecraft. Similarly, Minecraft has digitized the natural world but produced so much dynamism between its digital and natural components that it becomes natural for its digitality. For being so far removed from physical instruments, Visible Cloaks nonetheless discovers a similar organic-ness.
The bonus tracks give up just about all of the familiar sensibilities established by Motion Graphics last year. Relying on quiet interludes of digital vocals and stringed instruments — Imprint, Moon —, we don’t see New Age or Digital Age (whatever you want to call it), simply quite beautiful ambient tracks harkening to Philip Glass or Steve Reich. So you already recommended this album to me, but here is the lens with which I’m listening.