Scattered Clouds at Bluesfest

July 8th, 2016 by  |  Published in Concerts

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The intimate space and fine acoustics of the Barney Danson Theatre was an excellent setting for experiencing PostApocalyptic PostRock artists, Scattered Clouds, as one of the three Ottawa bands opening RBC Bluesfest this year.

Philippe Charbonneau and Jamie Kronick performed as a duo for this appearance, as Mike Dubue is on tour with Little Scream. Opening with a resonating tsunami of sound enveloping the theater, Scattered Clouds immersed the audience in the disconcerting intensity of People Walk. Philippe’s voice, though compared often to Ian Curtis from Joy Division, was more analogous to Leonard Cohen here. Many of their lyrics, however, do seem to have the textures, colour and phrasing of both Cohen and early Gothic.

There is this minimalistic abysmal foreboding that permeates their compositions which invokes tableaus of arid barren wind-blown wastelands and, squatting under mountains of dense aphotic clouds, ruptured megalopolitan structures inhabited by the vacuous shrouded remains of a desolate humanity plodding toward their inevitable oblivion.

Scattered Clouds speaks not of the apocalypse to come, but of the apocalypse of now – the one we have created and are submerged in.

This perspective was even more palpable within this venue, for there was no seperation of raised stage from audience as Jamie and Philippe wove with precision through two other numbers from both their EP and The First Empire, Paragone and Entrantresse, intersperse with five pieces not yet recorded – Don’t Question Me (endowed with low doom-laden howls and an sonorous apocalyptic foundation), Theme2 (…almost horror-gothic in tone and culminating with an overwhelming shroud of distorted overdriven guitar), Zoro, Danger, and the repine unsettling Broken Spirits infested with elongated background wails like spirits in the throes of Purgatory.

Speaking with Jamie after the show, and considering the majority of unrecorded material presented, I posed the question as to a new album. Being as Scattered Clouds will be touring westward and into California during October, a new recording process may not occur until the late spring of next year and the album itself – possibly not until 2018.

This combination of Scattered Clouds and the Barney Danson Theatre proved to be the perfect intro for me to this year’s RBC Bluesfest.

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