Cleveland may be cavalier but he’s not from Cleveland. This is his first offering for the ESP Institute. On side A, Kyoto takes us to another place and time—not a literal representation of the Japanese city, but an imagined mystical version of the former capitol sculpted out of celestial flutes and swelling strings, Taiko drums and a twinkling marimba arpeggio—the pulsing single-note that serves in lieu of a bassline pins a layer beneath to balance the softer elements and maintain a slightly tough foundation throughout. On side B, Coimbra (similarly the former capitol of Portugal) tells a lighter story, as if Cleveland is attempting to recount a beautiful dream yet the details are fuzzy—the beat stays passive never picking up a snare or clap, the vocoder chords are blurry and we can’t make out a lyric, the primary melodic loop catches us in a repetitive cycle, and all the while we hear a faint voice in the periphery as if someone is trying to wake us—this proving Cleveland is a master of subtle suggestion. These two songs will hold your hand as you cross the road.
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