Artists of the week: Majical Cloudz
Born from the ashes of the solo project of Canadian electronic singer-songwriter Devon Welsh, who released II, a lo-fi of his early synth-pop experiments, in 2011 through Arbutus featuring vocals from his labelmate Claire Boucher (aka Grimes), the true formation of Majical Cloudz happened the following year with the addition of Mathew Otto that both expanded, via sprawling synths, and focused, via subdued rhythms, their original sound. Slights arrangements, ghostly beats and covetous vocals became the foundation of their sophomore and highly celebrated album Impersonator (2013), turning the duo into some kind of unexpected phenomenon amongst indie fans.
The new and recently released Are You Alone? not only follows but deepens the impressionistic path of their previous record showcasing an extremely stark and ethereal sound that occasionally seems to be aiming at silence. Nevertheless, the duo also reaches great melodic heights thanks to a more upbeat musical approach and warm textures that confer a longing that tempers the confrontational tone of their lyrics. The record is definitely a cerebral affair that echoes deep into the heart of its listeners, which is musically a fairly rare combination in 2015.
João Pedro da Costa is a web studies scholar and a music fan.