“Get your head out of the clouds”. It’s an idiom often associated with parents, teachers, authority figures, or any sort of ‘straight folk.’ Ascribe to the mundanity of life, the endless rat race, the wheel of productivity. On Cloud Suites, California pianist and experimental composer Nico Georis offers a gentle rebuke of this sentiment with a dizzying array of stratospheric keyboard arrangements.
There’s a beautiful precedent amongst the great ambient-experimental artists in regard to mood music. Eno. Mort Garson. Jon Hopkins. Last year, Nico Georis nodded to past purveyors, covering Terry Riley’s A Rainbow In Curved Air, setting the scene for what would come. Cloud Suites takes these ideals one step further by not only creating ‘cloud music’ but elevating listeners to the place authority figures feared most – our imagination. Each song creates a new world to explore.
“Soft Purple Gazers” and “Soft Yellow Gazers” quite literally call to mind the idyllic moments of looking up to the sky and trying to discern the pattern of each puffy white plume. “Ice Crystals” features cosmic arpeggios that dance over harmonious piano melodies that ebb and flow between hot and cold. “Flight” evokes an atmospheric, airborn symphony with synth lines that flutter up and down like the wings of a bird.
Georis composed each suite in real-time, peering out the windows of his Big Sur cabin and home-recording studio (dubbed The Sky Shed), responding improvisationally to render specific clouds as music—in effect, to pluck them from the sky. Georis aims to lift our spirits as well as his own. After a five-year battle with Lime Disease, the project was shelved multiple times due to various obstacles, including a mudslide that tore through Sky Shed.
In this way, perhaps having your head in the clouds isn’t all bad. For Nico Georis, it’s provided a reprieve from these earthly setbacks and allowed him to convey the joyful revelations and spontaneity of the clouds. | g chammas