Those who know the respected Irish producer John Daly for his bubbly,
melodically nuanced house and techno tracks may get thrown off balance by
his latest work under the Smoke Clears handle. While his 2011 release for
Further, Sea Level, hinted at his fondness for Manuel Göttsching/Klaus
Schulze-like kosmische ambience, on Listen Daly veers off into more
introverted and arcane abstraction terrain. The title track kicks off the album
on a decidedly downtempo, contemplative note while maintaining Daly's knack
for understatedly beautiful melodies. It sounds like the best song Morr Music
never released. »Plumb« exudes a paradoxically chilled and urgent aura, with
woodblocks seemingly made out of ice and heavily reverbed claps providing
the hypnotic rhythm. The glistening IDM of »Star Shine« could be an outtake
from Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works 1985-1992 (it's that gorgeous).
The beautifully hoarfrosty »Trace« evokes Seefeel’s forays into fusing shoegaze
atmospheres with abstract electronic beat matrices. With Listen, the Smoke
Clears decisively steps off the dance floor and enters one of the chilliest
chillout rooms a ’90s clubber ever chilled in-but the music’s still abristle with all
sorts of fascinating movement and textures. Despite Listen’s banquet of
ultra-cool tones, your neurons will work up a nice sweat.
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