Review: Elif Yalvaç – CloudScapes

Elif Yalvaç - CloudScapesSix pieces, six sonic evocations of rare cloud types. The mesmeric, almost contradictory essence of clouds resides in their combination of gaseousness and shapeliness; the puffy dispersal of vapour, curbed by edges that cut sharply into the sky. Spillages frozen in time and space. Elif Yalvaç manages to generate this elusive quality by using both frequency spectrum and volume as paintbrushes, sweeping upward through ephemeral hazes to convey abrupt curvature, or cutting sound dead to create sheer vertical surfaces, with thick waves of harmony plummeting into silence from on high. Meanwhile, the texture of these clouds is forever shifting. As I wade through each piece, I encounter little glitches that hang within the echo like trapped rain droplets, or visceral bursts of bass frequency that drag at the underside like a lining of heavy grey. They thicken with debris (crushed field recording, distortion, colliding electronics) and then dissipate into delicate wisps of drone, as Yalvaç riddles her sculptures with vaporous clots and pockets of empty space.

Another fascinating quality of clouds is their status as meteorological prophets and diaries, using shape and texture as means to communicate imminent weather shifts or recent weather events. For instance, “Castellanus” (the first piece on CloudScapes) is named after a cloud characterised by vertical turrets that sprout from the base, often signifying an oncoming storm. The track ends with a sudden burst of noise, presumably resembling the chaos forecast in the piece’s erratic swerves and smoky quivers of warning. “Mammatus” clouds take the form of gigantic blankets of bubbles, the appearance of which is often linked with severe thunderstorms. And thus, the final track on CloudScapes is a paradoxically beautiful ode to violent weather: tiny sparks erupt within thick and dissonant drones, as the vapour hangs in the mid frequencies like levitating syrup. The cloud is too heavy to defy gravity forever, and while Elif Yalvaç doesn’t opt to depict the storm itself, the album’s beautiful fade-out is haunted by the suspicion that there is silence where tempestuous rupture should be.

Elif Yalvaç on SoundCloud – https://soundcloud.com/hazalelif