EP Review: Slot Canyons & Cloud Choir – ‘Field Ring Split #1’

From Lyon’s TiSiphone and their carefree dissection of everything punk, we spin outwards to Beijing and Wuhan. From these cities comes ‘Field Ring Split #1’, a shared EP from Cloud Choir and Slot Canyons.

Themed on winter reflections in their respective environments, both acts tease out their own sets of textures; Slot Canyons come first with their lush waves of synthwork that slow-flow through two sets of movements.

As we embark on ‘Black Ice’, our first feel is a bleakness in low light and calm that remains through both this track and next. This is music for patience, for an atmosphere’s presence, where the smallest event or a shifting of tone is a landmark in washed out aesthetics. We move through at glacier-like speeds, volumes swell and shrink down letting new shades of haze take their place in minute variations.  

From this Blanc Mass style drift we change tack only slightly but we’re still deep in slowcore and dreamwave. ‘This Is Our Spot’, the highlight of the EP, spins a single arpeggio that runs and repeats, and drops speed over warm modulations. As we lilt and fragment, as the synth sounds break down, all bleeds into more earth-bound beauty; like Boards Of Canada’sTrans Canada Highway’, we emerge into reverb’d acoustic guitars where at last a real lightness is found.  

Cloud Choir takes a rougher, more organic path through the same breed of movement and speed; there’s an analogue heat to the feedback and glitch that comes twisted and warped out of shape. With more menace than calm in their itch-darkened dreamscapes, we find winter cold, stark and lonely. ‘Parasomnia’ twists, jerks and scratches throughout, frantic in rough cut and clutter.  

Where ‘Parasomnia’ sought to find some kind of balance between pressure and peace and unease, their next is pure abstract abrasion. It’s tough to find something that teeters on tempting in the noisescape of ‘Awakenings And Arousals’. As this last track gets lost in its gravel and grit I lose sight of its themes and its reason, but where ‘Field Ring Split #1’ keeps its purpose and grip, there’s a sweep spot of warm isolation.  

Field Ring Split #1‘ is out now to stream with a vinyl issue still in the works.