Album Review: “Casting Shadows” by As Clouds Form

Album Review: “Casting Shadows” by As Clouds Form

Written By: Dan Eachus

“Casting Shadows,” the latest album by As Clouds Form, released on March 22, 2024, marks a significant moment in the band’s career. Comprised of seven tracks, this album delves into a unique blend of ambient and synthwave sounds, creating a listening experience that is both nostalgic and futuristic.

Track Overview

  1. Out of Focus: The opening track sets the tone with its ethereal synths and subtle beats. The E Major key and 104 BPM give it a dreamlike quality, perfect for easing listeners into the album’s mood.
  2. Infinite Sky: This track shifts to a slightly more grounded sound with its D Major key and 94 BPM. The tempo and melodic structure evoke a sense of vastness and exploration, fitting its title perfectly.
  3. Lucid Dreams: With a jump to 176 BPM and a D♭ Major key, “Lucid Dreams” is a standout with its energetic beats and intricate layers of synths. It captures the essence of a vivid dreamscape, blending intensity with surreal beauty.
  4. Synth Arcade: Another fast-paced track in D♭ Major, “Synth Arcade” shares the same BPM as “Lucid Dreams.” The repetitive, arcade-like synth lines and nostalgic vibes make it a fun and engaging piece that adds variety to the album.
  5. Forgotten Worlds: Returning to E Major and 104 BPM, this track offers a blend of melancholy and hope. The slower pace allows for deeper emotional exploration, contrasting nicely with the previous high-energy tracks.
  6. Shadows: This track maintains the E Major key and 104 BPM, continuing the reflective and immersive atmosphere. The interplay between light and dark themes in the music mirrors the title, creating a hauntingly beautiful soundscape.
  7. Parallel Existence: Closing the album, “Parallel Existence” in E Major and 104 BPM encapsulates the overall feel of “As Clouds Form.” It brings a sense of resolution while leaving listeners pondering the vastness of parallel worlds and alternate realities.

Artistic and Technical Aspects

The production quality on “Casting Shadows” is top-notch, with each track meticulously crafted to create a cohesive and immersive auditory experience. The use of various keys and BPMs demonstrates As Clouds Form’s ability to experiment while maintaining a unified sound. The album’s ambient and synthwave influences are evident, drawing comparisons to artists like Tycho and Boards of Canada, yet maintaining a unique identity.

The seamless integration of synths and electronic elements with organic soundscapes sets this album apart. The tracks flow naturally from one to the next, creating an uninterrupted journey through different emotional and sonic landscapes. The thematic continuity, exploring concepts of dreams, parallel worlds, and the interplay of light and shadow, adds depth to the listening experience.

Final Thoughts

“Casting Shadows” is a testament to As Clouds Form’s growth and evolution as artists. It showcases their ability to create music that is both introspective and expansive. The album invites listeners to lose themselves in its layers, discovering new nuances with each listen. While it may not appeal to those looking for mainstream pop or rock hits, it offers a rich and rewarding experience for fans of ambient, electronic, and synthwave music.

In summary, “Casting Shadows” is an album that requires and deserves full attention. It’s not background music; it’s an auditory journey that captures the imagination and stirs the soul. As Clouds Form has delivered an impressive work that stands out in the current music landscape.

For more information on the album and to listen to the tracks, you can visit the Spotify page for “Casting Shadows”.

Dan Eachus is the President and co-owner of RetroSynth Lazersteel Records, with his own musical projects in the band Neutron Dreams and his solo project DMME.

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