Synth EP Review: milicow, "Clouded Light"
The title of milicow’s EP, Clouded Light, is quite apt. The whole sensation of the album is indeed one in which small glimmers of light are obscured by clouds of heavier, darker sound. There is a sensation of drifting emotion, somber and sad, along with moments of deep beauty. At times, crunchy synths and distortion creep in, creating darker and more bleak sensations in the mind. It is an original sound, based on synthesizers, but not really like any of the subgenres of synth-based music currently being made.
Clouded Light is a reflection of the struggle that millicow went through as he was creating the album. He says, "The brevity and darker vibe of this album, or EP if you like, reflects the darkness I had to fight through in order to create these songs..."
He adds, "But, in life as well as in these songs, there is always a silver lining woven into the darkness. For me, that silver lining is my art. As long as I keep creating, I don't get too depressed."
Clouded Light is indeed an introspective recording. The music is a clear reflection of millicow exploring his own psychological landscape, pondering questions about life in general and the life of the mind in particular. Much of his has a plaintive quality to it and at times it is shaded by darker expressions bordering on despondency. At times, small glimmers of light and hope grow, starting to push against the darkness rising. All in all I found it quite affecting as it moved across this complex emotional terrain.
Patterns, arpeggios and repetition are an important part of Clouded Light. The sensations that they create of growing and expanding soundwaves are quite powerful, lending a solid base to the more ephemeral elements of the recording. If anything, they make those more ghostly elements more obvious by anchoring them to something, rather than leaving them free floating.
I especially appreciated the use of the piano on this recording. The more acoustic sound contrasted well with the variety of synth sounds and the rumbling bass. It emphasized the emotional qualities of the tracks on which milicow used it, heightening the sense of sadness that seemed to pervade the music and adding depth to it. Something about the sound of a piano evokes melancholy in me.
Clouded Light was an EP that, for me, conjured up a strong emotional response. The totality of the music served to convey intense emotional sensations and helped me journey through terrain that was dark but not without hope. I feel that milicow has managed to walk the line between complete darkness and a place where small glimmers of light shine through the gloom. As a reflection of his struggles to create this album, it's especially poignant.