Publicity photo via Bandcamp

Visible Cloaks: Lex (album review)

Visible Cloaks' goal on Lex is to get you to live. To live in spaces and places, to occupy another's zone.

Visible Cloaks
RVNG Intl.
8 Dec 2017

If the stereotypical goal of electronic music is to get you to move, Visible Cloaks’ goal is to get you to live. To live in spaces and places, to occupy another’s zone.
Lex, the new mini-album is another such space. Reassemblage – perhaps 2017’s best electronic record – was the journey and Lex is the destination.

“Wheel” is three and a half minutes of floating. I was flying back from LA to Chicago today, and it soundtracked our ascent over the Los Angeles fog into the steamy clouds. Combined with some sub mix Thom Yorke-esque vocal conversations, the track brings to mind a digital café, the echoing xylophone notifying robots that their hot oil coffee is ready at the shining steel counter. “Frame” is a stuttering, breathing IDM exercise. It has all the pieces of a banger but chooses to place them sporadically rather than rhythmically.

“Transient” is an alien instructional video that twists into a soaring Brian Eno-like piece by its finish – rather like the tail end of the safety briefing before jumping out of a plane and pulling the parachute ripcord. “Keys” is offbeat drums that pair with vocal intonations. The spoken word portions fit well both here and on the record. This track too has distinct halves, floating into a synthesizer slow motion echo like digital rainbow colored Captain Crunch hitting a bowl of zeroes and ones while a computer inhales and exhales.

The title track follows with shifting synths and unfolding soundscapes. It sounds a bit like a harmonized first hour with a brand new keyboard shaved down to two minutes. Pianos enter and exit making noise like they are being tuned and played simultaneously. That mix of the digital and literal makes for a nice breath before the ultimate track.

“World” – the final piece is as long as the rest of the record combined. Like a B-side length track. It uses the time well, pacing and metering out sounds to lay on top of and beside the main movement of ambient synth swells. Pieces come in and out seemingly at random creating the vibe of driving through 1,000 Guitar Center keyboard sections several at a time.

Visible Cloaks don’t make the type of music that could ever be indie “big” but having released their albums in Japan as solo artists and under this moniker to notable success, the band is making the most exciting and fresh ambient / electronic / IDM right now. Keep close watch on these guys, I think their best record is yet to come out, but for now,
Lex, is top shelf and should be in your collection.

RATING 8 / 10