Recurrent throughout A Footnote Of Sorts is the harsh buzz of noise and lights. The electrical hum of an abandoned classroom. The purr of halogen signs. Voltage leaking out of fractured wiring. I start to picture Tag Cloud as a connoisseur of imperfect circuitry, with a basement stacked with broken Motel lights and dying synthesisers, orchestrating their various rates of decay into choruses of microtonal buzz. The drones criss-cross and chance-align, veering in and out of phase in a manner that welcomes both accident and handsome harmonic intent. Even the actual instruments on this album feel dangerously over-charged, and while the melodic motif running through “A Rising Tide” is beautiful – resembling a smooth “S” repeatedly painted upon the night sky with a bright sparkler, chased by its own tail of light – the tone seethes with excess voltage, spewing its lament in a pressurised jet.
Where the music is calmer, the “imperfect circuitry” is that of the withering mind; hazy shapes caught in the folds of collapsing memory. The first half of “The Nightly Forecast” rolls like a hillside, fluid in motion but pixelated in timbre, stuck in a cyclical loop as though clinging to the solitary image of an otherwise forgotten recollection. What keeps me transfixed by A Footnote Of Sorts is how it just manages to hold itself together – buzzing as rusty cables convulse beneath the chassis, or flickering as neurons dim with age – and my morbid anticipation for the moment that the album explodes. Tag Cloud erects magnificent sculptures of splintered wiring and eroded soldering, somehow confident that those gushes of electrical vigour won’t blow his artworks apart.