I’m peering at the rhythm through a mist. I catch sight of silhouetted hi-hats and the blur of bass drums, aware that most of the structure is hidden from me. Syncopations allude toward those drums that I cannot see, as beats stand lop-sided and gravity defiant, with surfaces vanishing into the haze and ticks of cymbal levitating without support. Absence looms large on Sub-Clouds. What I hear leaves me curious about what is concealed from me – those soft, respiratory throbs of dub are the audible protrusions of something cathartic and spectacular, and while they grant me insight into what lies beyond my field of hearing, there’s also the sense that they’re consciously withholding the full breadth of the experience. I’m left catching the intermittent drips of a rich, vibrant cascade happening elsewhere.
And what about the mist itself? It feels stale, discoloured – synthesisers reduced to swirling carbon monoxide and particles of rust. There are whiffs are harmony, albeit reduced to the mundanity of sombre minor keys, howling like the winds that prey upon the most stagnant and neglected of places. At times, there are little bristles of electricity, such as the crackles leaping off the beat of “Dimensional Climb”, or the lasers ricocheting against the walls on “Spectral Vortex”. Yet of course, these flashes promptly perish – illuminating the mist for mere seconds at a time before vanishing into obscurity. Elsewhere, the only glimpses of life are on a bacterial scale. Spend enough time staring into the haze, and it’s possible to hear the squirms and chirps of experiment somewhere within – tiny lifeforms chewing away at the dirt, thriving of this vacant, yet beautifully constructed, ode to mystery and decay.