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Boomkat Product Review:
Following 2020's Touch-released "The Key", Chicago-based duo Steven Hess and Michael Vallera look into their city's industrial past with a lengthy and faded set of low-light dark ambience, punctuated by Hess's expert percussion. RIYL Lustmord, Deathprod, Scanner.
Hess and Vallera haven't exactly switched up their sound since their self-titled 2011 debut album, but they've refined it, sculpting their gaseous dark ambience into a sonic signature that's never sounded more dialed in. "Of Endless Light" feels as if they're heading to the core of their inspiration and motivation, tapping into the industrial heart of Chicago with grinding, humming tracks that sound like a chorus of heavy machines whirring in unison. As usual their sonic pallete is guitar, percussion and field recordings, but the duo have a way of molding these elements into clouds of melancholy scrapes and tones. It's a soundtrack to the loss of a city to gentrification - the sound of sterilization as deeply-held memories slowly slip away.
The two veteran players capture the mood with long-form experiments, using melodic motifs like whispers in a crowd and burying traffic sounds and industrial growls under layers of processed percussion and guitar. It's tempting to find a way to lash Cleared's music to Chicago's post-rock past, but at this point any trace of that music is all but gone.