Michael Upton (Jet Jaguar)
Beautiful softly swelling tracks, at their best when they have a bit of a metronomic slow mo pulse under them, not vying for attention but just stopping the drones from feeling settled. Dawn is heavy in a great way, but the title track is superb.
Favorite track: Of Endless Light.
Lost Tribe Sound
Absolutely love that Cleared continues to refine their snail-paced, ever-steady rhythmic mechanism. 'Of Endless Light' is a masterpiece! My love for long-form thump and drone music has rarely felt this satisfied. It's a sound pleasing enough for the ambient-lite folks, while leaving enough sonic grit and gristle for the fringe types. Highest recommendation!
How can music be so wordless yet say so much? Evocative-grinding; spatial-condensed; drone-journeyscapes. Distant cousin of of Coils' How To Destroy Angels. Thanks to Bruce from Kranky for recommending; going on my Best of 2022 since no album has so aptly captured our world and its limping around the sun. Joins Touch pantheons like Fennesz and Biosphere.
Michael J Bates
Like weather and the natural elements, this erodes.
Rather like an audio-physical aspect that wears down and reveals new layers under the surfaces of sound.
Time, space, gravity and enlightenment are all present here.
Favorite track: Blue Drift.
Cleared is the longstanding project of Steven Hess and Michael Vallera, based in Chicago, Illinois. The six tracks complete the longest release to date by the duo, who were resolute in utilizing the maximum time available on the compact disc format. Cleared has produced a series of critically recognized recordings since its self-titled debut in 2011. Working with the Touch label on The Key (recorded in spring 2019, released in October 2020) was a leap forward, prompting remixed tracks by Philp Jeck, Fennesz, Bethan Kellough, and Olivia Block.
Of Endless Light is noctambulant, a walk through formal sonic spaces and colors beginning with the cascading, bell-like tones of the opening track, "First Sleep." The husks of a city's industrial past are summoned: warehouses hollowed out for condominiums, dust-covered factory floors, a distant grind of machining, clouds of metallic particles, and the persistent background hum of traffic. These remnants contrast with hints of the sterile present of a city no less cruel than its industrial past. "Dawn" opens with a grey drone and scattered electronic rhythms as wiring, and extended guitar lines suggest the opening of another cycle of the day into evening. "Pulse" offers a hypnotic pattern that suggests the movement of people through the city's core, slowly overlain with cymbals evoking the shimmer of sunlight cleaving off the windows of distant buildings. The album appropriately concludes with "Walking Field," methodically moving forward via a cloud of meditative clicks and looping melodies.
Of Endless Light is a patient listen, distilled into a sonic environment specific to Hess and Vallera's lens. Cleared created its crepuscular moods using the core methodology of their previous records while expanding their music's range, artistry, and subtlety. Deploying careful instrumentation, sampling, and mixing to experiment with tone and atmosphere, Of Endless Light breathes and drifts through layers of sound that veil, reveal, and intrigue. The result gives a listener much to discover, examine, experience, and consider - as well as the incentive to return again and again. [Bruce Adams, 2022]
released September 23, 2022
All sound by Steven Hess and Michael Vallera
Recorded by Jeremy Lemos
Mastered by Denis Blackham
Photography by Jon Wozencroft
Published by Touch Music/Fairwood Music (UK) Ltd.
Cleared is the longstanding project of Steven Hess and Michael Vallera, based in Chicago, Illinois. Of Endless Light was
recorded by Jeremy Lemos at Electrical Audio in Chicago and mastered by Denis Blackham. Cleared has produced a series of critically recognized recordings since its self-titled debut in 2011....more