Alex Berg aka Cloud takes a typically Scandinavian approach to his debut album,...
Jack Smith 2005-09-07
Hailing from Gothenberg, Cloud - aka Alex Berg - takes a typically Scandinavian approach to his debut album, colouring in his shimmering beat structures with ethereal jazz and emotive soul.
Recent single "Winter Nights" (featuring Joanna Wahlsten) is a case in point: though remixed onto the dancefloor by fellow Gothenberger and Nu Jazz hero Swell Sessions, the original is seductive and utterly in keeping with the rest of the album's enigmatic moods.
With regards to the album, we are introduced to Cloud's soft-focus vision via the opening gambit 'Over Clouds' - a short soundtrack for a silent hang-glider movie, all warm, soaring synths and gently flapping percussion
The impressive weightlessness that sets this tune heaven-bound is a major feature of Adventure, whose melodies refresh like a summer breeze and whose softly pulsing basslines are pillows for weary heads.
Wahlsten, the album's main vocalist, appears on several cuts; the romantic "Thinking Of You", and uptempo cuts such as "Hold On" and "Turning", matching her fine, saccharine vocals to the beatmeister's glossy textures.
But the instrumentals are bewitching also. The bass in "Summer Rain" ambles along amiably under a lazy, chugging beat and scribbled Moog-lines, whilst the tinkling high notes of tunes like "Secrets" lends the album some of that fey, spangly, 'Scandinavian sound' that Royksopp and Plej have explored so successfully.
Delicate traces of melancholy creep into cuts like "Those Days" (also with Wahlsten) and the instrumental "Cute", adding the extra depth required to raise the project above cocktail-party standards.
With its moonlit beams and gentle currents, Adventure is an addictive album, deftly illustrating that great emotional strength can be wrought from an attitude of restraint and levity.