Enter a meditative world of images of the “invisible essence” of things, as tranquil as an Alpine pool or wispy cirrus cloud. Multi-instrumentalist Emmanuel De La Paix teams up with engineer Jón Þór Birgisson (Jónsi, Sigur Rós) for a sublimely calm new LP, The Physics of Clouds.

Jónsi’s sense of balance, clarity, and glimmering gelid textures is reflected elegantly in these productions, along with some signature vocal tricks – the voice can almost sound like another guitar. But this is a distinct fusion, maybe as well summed up by the vibrant mirrored images of nature. (Images here provided by the artist to CDM from his exhibition; see gallery at bottom.)

Some tracks available here; the rest (and album download) are on the Beatport page.

These hyperreal “reworked” images by Emmanuel he describes as “perfection beyond reality.” I admit they didn’t quite catch me on the first look, but as I re-listened to the LP, those pristine textures with their saturated hues – a bit like the cross of René Magritte and some glossy Swiss travel posters, remembered from a dream – looked like the compositions and palette of the tracks.

the artist playing electric guitar, with acoustic guitar at its side, in th emountains, surrounded by boulder, green hills in the background

There are moments that pick up with crisp rhythms and patterning, as on “Cloud Mass” (which, despite the name, is one of the most rhythmic and moving tracks). There are moments of the aching, half-sung shoegaze-style melodic melancholy and longing. But even in motion, harmonically and structurally, The Physics of Clouds largely hangs in stasis, like those high-atmosphere ice crystals. For all the omnipresent guitar textures, nothing is ever lost in dust or gauze. It’s a different direction for the multi-instrumentalist, “healing” he says – clear as high-altitude air.


The Physics of Clouds [release/download – Beatport]




Previously, I covered a very different full-length from his last outing plus premiered a video here on CDM: