(Just so you guys know, everything I’m about to say is completely biased. That being said, take everything from here on with a grain of salt.)
I’ve been listening to Nathaniel Noton-Freeman’s music ever since he posted Whorl on reddit over two years ago. To say that he’s progressed wouldn’t be entirely accurate. He’s had the talent from the start, he just shows it in different ways from one album to the next. From the acoustic soundscapes in ‘Whorl’ to the more traditional post-rock sounds in ‘Seabirds’, he’s done a wonderful job of never repeating himself.
‘Cloud Machines’ is no different.
Compared to his earlier work, ‘Cloud Machines’ is almost depressingly solemn. Its droning and drawn out riffs really show his admiration and inspirations from bands like Earth and Lowercase Noises. It actually sounds exactly how I wanted Lowercase Noises’ “This Is For Our Sins” to turn out.
From the opening notes of “Aamjiwnaang”, you can guess that the rest of the album is going to be a relaxing ride, and you’d be right. The first track is almost nothing but guitars on top of guitars like some sort of musical orgy. This track and “Harvestman” are where the Lowercase Noises influences show clearest, in my opinion. It’s is so beautiful and simple at the same time.
Every track from then on is a masterpiece in and of itself. From the melodies to the song structures, it’s all wonderfully executed. Even though all of the songs so different from each other and can be a somewhat jarring experience, they all sound like they belong, nothing is out of place. And the effects are absolutely wonderful, you can really see his love of pedals throughout the whole album, my favorite example is “Murmur”.
But my absolute favorite tracks are “Crow & The Watermelon Rind” and “Young Birch” because they’re the only acoustic tracks, they just really stand out to me, and I’m a sucker for acoustic music. Even though the whole lo-fi ‘I recorded this in my backyard’ sound has been done so many times, he really owns it and makes it sound so sincere.
I insist that you check this album and the brilliant guy behind it. Even if you don’t like “Cloud Machines”, I would check his other albums out anyways, because he doesn’t always sound the same like most artists tend to do. (I’m looking at you, Sleep Dealer.)
After you’ve checked it out, let me know what you thought on twitter @Foofsies or via e-mail at email@example.com
Next week: Ranges – Solar Mansions (Yet ANOTHER band from Bozeman, Montana!)