Druid Cloak as “Cryptosystem I” Chills and Soothes with His New Project “Mortalscapes”

A surprising slice of meditative texture from the Bancamp files
By    February 25, 2015

a0767051554_10 Son Raw is floating in space One of the great things about listening to music outside of the conventional pop sphere is that you never know where the rabbit hole will take you. Case in point, after I made an offhanded tweet about how much I’ve been enjoying the recent wave of experimental music I’d been sent–stuff in the Weightless and Peace Edit veins mostly–Bass music producer Druid Cloak asked if I’d be interested in checking his new, non-dance floor oriented material. I’m glad I said yes, because his Cyptosystem I project hits all the right notes in terms of experimental chilliness and soothing ambiance.

While I won’t pretend to be an expert in drone/ambient/experimental music, Cyptosystem I is the kind of music I wish I could find more of: textural and abstract enough to be engaging but chill enough to throw on when I want to relax. I listen to an insane amount of hectic beats, so at the end of the day, I’m always looking for something to unwind to, but most chill out music trends towards either Boudah Bar cheese or Chillwave irony. In contrast, much of Cyptosystem I’s Mortalscapes feels rooted in the same urban aesthetic as the best dance music, only refracted by several degrees. If anything, some of the beats (or textures) here remind me of Cannibal Ox’s Cold Vein rethought as a museum piece. Crucially, there’s no hard and fast rules here. The tracks aren’t strictly beatless but they’re definitely operating in stasis. Textures usually run things, but tracks like “II Scra” and “Fdaerios” use chords and melodies to push things forward. The end result is a project more listenable and less dogmatic than a lot of ambient/drone stuff I’ve heard—a definite plus in a genre that can feel a little self serious. All in all, a really pleasant surprise and one I’d recommend to anyone interested in cool down music that’s still got enough substance for engaged listening.

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