For their debut album as Visible Cloaks, Spencer Doran and Ryan Carlile produce sparkling, holographic tone poems that utilize generative processes and MIDI. The music is heavily inspired by early new age music, '80s Japanese artists like Mariah, and pretty much anything that fits under the "fourth world" umbrella. The pieces are generally short (only a few are over five minutes), and they're actually quite busy -- there might even be too much going on for this to really be considered true ambient music. Yet it still registers as a soundtrack for relaxation; it's incredibly easy to lie down and float away to this album. The music rewards heavy concentration, however, and headphones are highly recommended in order to absorb everything that's going on here. The pieces generally consist of soft, bubbly, rippling tones, as well as digital approximations of mallet percussion, woodwinds, and other instruments. On a few tracks, there's gentle computerized singing, and at other points (such as "Mask") there are fluttering, buzzing sounds that seem to imitate birds, insects, and other natural beings. Some moments are glitchy, but not in an abrasive way (although the sharp, sudden sweep in the middle of the Motion Graphics-featuring "Terrazzo" might shock you if you aren't prepared for it). Miyako Koda of cult Japanese art pop duo Dip in the Pool guests on two versions of "Valve." The first features sporadic spoken words, and is interesting, but the bonus "Revisited" version (co-credited to Dip in the Pool proper, as Tatsuji Kimura co-wrote it) is a truly lovely ambient pop song. Matt Carlson of Golden Retriever contributes to the slippery, vocal-centered "Neume." The album is intriguing and accessible, yet just strange enough to stand out among all the other experimental electronic artists mining the early new age era for inspiration.
AllMusic Review by Paul Simpson