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Clouds: Protecting Hands Pt 1 & 2

I have always sat on the fence with Clouds, halfway between loving this Finnish dubstep trio and not really caring about them that much. It’s an odd position to be in because I have really enjoyed some of their previous efforts, tunes like “Elders”, “Shallow” (a crafty little bootleg of Joanna Newsom’s “The Book of Right-On”) and “Under the Dancing Feet” but somehow tunes like “Worms” and their recent output with Ramp Records never really grabbed me.

I’m not saying that these are bad tunes, I just don’t feel that they stand up next to the masterpiece that is “Elders”. Therefore, I was pretty eager to hear what would they would offer up for DMZ’s Mala’s now much revered and respected label, Deep Medi Musik. It is one of those labels, much like Planet Mu or Hyperdub, that has a kind of “buy it before listening to it because you know its gonna be awesome” reputation.

As you’d expect from the title of these two tunes, they are variations on the same theme, pieces that when put together work as a whole. “Protecting Hands Pt. 1” features a shuffling, nervous rhythm and a nice dubbed out bassline over an absolutely gorgeous floating guitar part that is drenched in reverb and delay. It perfectly matches the beauty of very traditional sounding folk guitar with the bass-weight and rhythmic obsessions of Dubstep.

“Protecting Hands Pt. 2” is even more special, the lead guitar part featured in Pt 1. taken away in a favour of a vocal line from female member Tiiu which is heart breakingly beautiful, her voice reminiscent of the aforementioned Ms. Newsom or the singer of the Long Lost. The melancholic overtones of the melody are strangely warm and comforting, soaking nicely into your conscience in a way that is just perfect, again, complementing the bass heavy low-end.

This may just be my favorite tune of the year so far and it is definitely making me begin to re-visit those Clouds tunes that I wasn’t wholly convinced with before and give them a second chance. Wonderful and completely essential!