Those who follow Los Angeles label A Strangely Isolated Place already know that every vinyl edition looks sublime; but the newest double-vinyl album from Iluvia may be their best yet. Prince would be proud to see this pair of purple eggs. And while the music may not be like that of the Minneapolis nature, its retro sensibility will send listeners back in time to a safe and peaceful place called the 90s: before 9/11, before Trump’s presidency, before Brexit, before the pandemic. Back then, world music was on the rise, Buddha Bar albums were all the rage, and drum ‘n’ bass was taking dance floors by storm. Creative mixers combined drum ‘n’ bass with ambience and a hint of dub, creating a hybrid that was simultaneously soothing and exciting; Iridescence of Clouds falls into this vein, an hour-long set that unfolds like a dream.
The title track begins with the sound of spring birds, a warm invitation to the album. A mixture of influences starts to surface. One can imagine the track remixed into separate ambient and drum ‘n’ bass tracks, or even a trance track due to the arpeggios; but here they are part of a single piece. The repeated vocal syllable of “Sea of Crises” is another throwback to the early days of sampling, while the gossamer threads of “State of Emergence,” with its echoed bvdub-esque snippet, invite headphone listening. While a DJ could mix the percussive parts into a club concoction, the cool ambient portions are tailor-made for home sessions. This said, “Nirmala II” is the set stormer.
Iridescence of Clouds builds on the tone of an older track (“Iluvia (Exhaltation)”), which was itself an alternate mix of the artist’s self-titled piece. There’s even a nod to an earlier work in the title, as the hour-long ambient album The Kindness of Clouds was released under his Eternell moniker in 2018. Multiple albums boast images of clouds, including Autumn Sky, Beneath an Endless Sky and Dreaming the Night Sky; it’s safe to say that Ludvig Cimbrelius (whose name even sounds like a type of cloud) is familiar with the work of Gavin Edmund Pretor-Pinney. But as alluded to in the latter title, clouds inspire daydreams, and we’re all dreaming of something beautiful on the horizon these days. Iridescence implies that colors change when viewed from different angles; the same might hold true of our perspectives. If music can invite us to dream, all the better. (Richard Allen)