Apollo Brown
Clouds


4.0
excellent

Review

by MisterTornado CONTRIBUTOR (47 Reviews)
December 18th, 2011 | 7 replies | 4,764 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Have you ever dreamed of a place / Faraway from it all / Where the air you breathe is soft and clean, and children play in fields of green.

Detriot beatsmith Apollo Brown has been a busy man since his 2007 debut Skilled Trade. Every year since, he's been releasing low-key beat albums to strictly underground audiences. Thus, until last year's The Reset, which escalated him to a considerable amount of acclaim throughout the blogosphere. Where The Reset managed to successfully counterbalance tarnished and grime-exposed beats with soothing, pastoral instrumentals, Apollo Brown's latest album is flourished in the latter; beautifully strung by blue-sky beats and sentimental instrumentation.

Right from the get-go Apollo wastes no time in painting us a picture of how he wants Clouds to sound. "Have you ever dreamed of a place / Faraway from it all / Where the air you breathe is soft and clean, and children play in fields of green", a soothing vocal croons on the opener "Sound of Guns". These are lyrics that perfectly depict the sounds heard throughout the album, and they range widely, but all encompass the core fundamental ideas of optimism, youth, and nostalgia. One of the best examples of this is on the aptly tiled "Father and Son", carrying life-lessening orchestration under stripped percussion and a spring-tuned piano line that folds gently in the distance. On the sultry "Black Pearls", a waving trumpet glides in the air as orchestral lines sharply paint the melody, creating a mildly hallucinating effect. One of Clouds' most impressive moments is on the ever-hypnotic "Balance", piloting UFO signaled electronics to a low, gelatin-like drum 'n bass.

At a colossal 27 tracks thick, one may worry Clouds would suffer from its own length, though the opposite is true. Most commonly tracks clock in at just over two minutes, resulting in a quickly paced listen; its smoothly layered instrumentals gliding in and out to flawless transition. And despite boasting so many tracks, not a single one feels out of place or particularly lacking. Clouds is undoubtedly one of the most fully-rounded releases of the year, shunning the cold grips of time as almost an hour of music floats by in an eased gorgeousness; making it the one of the instrumental hip-hop album's to beat in 2011.



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user ratings (39)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
December 18th 2011



4507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Because it's never too late.

'Balance': http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQOCrqiM0CE
'Father and Son': http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsvqvB91QHc

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
December 18th 2011



31097 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I just picked this up the other day. It's really nice but something is definitely missing

Digging: Banks - Goddess

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
December 18th 2011



4507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The beat's don't change much, it's pretty loop-heavy throughout, though the tracks are short enough to
make it work. Alot of seem to believe all this needs is a little rapping, though I think all that
would do is water-down the lush production. It's not an MC kind of hip-hop album.

gabethepiratesquid
December 18th 2011



4521 Comments


A lot of the beats are pretty but it feels like he just uses the same process of sidechaining string or jazz samples.

thechodewarrior
December 18th 2011



62 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

good review, nice to see people paying more attention to him

bloc
December 18th 2011



34780 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is good, but kinda boring at times.

His other albums with rapping on them are far better.

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

patrickfannon
December 21st 2011



886 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I dig it a bunch. Just listened to it for the first time in a month or two the other day. I should probably grab one or two of his older albums so I have a point of comparison with Clouds.

Digging: Spoon - They Want My Soul



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