Father - Nicolai Dunger - This Cloud Is Learning
Label: Overcoat Recordings - OC 24 • Format: CD Album • Country: US • Genre: Rock • Style: Folk Rock
This Cloud Is Learning is Nicolai Dunger's third album to be released in the United States, but in a sense it might as well be his debut. He almost never made it this far: He was so unhappy with this earliest records-- 's Songs Wearing Clothes and 's Eventideboth released by Swedish label Telegram-- that he contemplated quitting music altogether.
A chance meeting with members of the Soundtrack of Our Lives persuaded him Poured It Out - Sick People - Fakes Rule, and he made This Cloud Is Learning with them in It was Dunger's two subsequent albums, Soul Rush with the Esbjorn Svensson Trio and Tranquil Isolation with Will Oldham, among othersthat were released in the United States-- in andrespectively-- but This Cloud Is Learningnow released with two negligible bonus tracks, was his first true artistic statement.
This Cloud Is Learning is not far Father - Nicolai Dunger - This Cloud Is Learning from Soul Rush or Tranquil Isolationyet it sounds more soulful than the former and more dynamic than the latter, which was at once too tranquil and too isolated. The Soundtrack of Our Lives which I refuse to abbreviate to the common SOOL, as it suggests they live in penthouse refrigerators, possess Sigourney Weaver, and transmogrify into giant marshmallow men provide nicely understated accompaniment to Dunger's mannered vocals.
Kalle Gustafsson's bowed double bass adds an eerie j-horror rumble to "Father", and Martin Hederos' harpsichord stitches spookily through "If I Were a Little Star", which contains a disarming major-key melody embedded in its minor-key gloominess. The members of Soundtrack understand their sidemen roles, providing measured back-up without distracting from or overshadowing Dunger's lyrics or vocals. That rightfully makes Dunger the focal point.
More so than on his more recently recorded albums, his voice often disregards consonants as it ranges from mewling to drunkenly garbled and hints at future comparisons to Van Morrison, Thom Yorke, and Jeff Buckley.
He sounds best when he slows the tempo and creates Love You Like I Love Myself - Herman Brood & His Wild Romance - The Best Of Herman Brood & His Wild subdued, gelid atmosphere in Step Down - Elliphant - Living Life Golden like "Independence" and "Songbegging", whose spectral simmer sets the mood for the album and compensates for the lyrics' occasional dips into sentimental smudginess.
However, when Dunger speeds up the tempo and attempts to rise from the gloom, This Cloud Is Learning becomes almost insufferably precious, especially on "Butterflyin' Friend" and "Something in the Way" which is neither a Beatles nor a Nirvana cover.
That album title, ultimately, is significant: Not only is This Cloud Is Learning a reassertion of Dunger's musical principles, but it sounds like an openly instructive experience for him as he explores the dynamics of collaboration and the range Father - Nicolai Dunger - This Cloud Is Learning his voice and lyrics. Skip to content Search query All Results. Pitchfork is the most trusted voice in music. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Open share drawer.
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