Visible Cloaks are the Portland-based musicians Spencer Doran and Ryan Carlile. Utilizing software-based composition rooted in randomization, MIDI-translation and chance operations, the duo has established an improbable humanist mode of music from esoteric processes.
Following their self-titled debut album, Visible Cloaks offered Reassemblage, an album simultaneously honoring the post-Yellow Magic Orchestra school of avant musical adventure and diverging from it. Veering from the paths cleared by Japanese and Italian electronic pop and ambient artists of the mid-80s / early-90s, Reassemblage established Visible Cloaks’ own camp in a forest of deep sound canopied by trees grown from synthetic seeds.
The sound represented on Lex is webbed with sculptural arrangements and interpolated by the sounds of alien speech. These strange and serene utterances were created by Doran feeding a chain of multiple dialects and accents through a language translation software to create an auditory poetry of an evolved place and time.
In 2017, at the tail end of Visible Cloaks’ first Japanese tour, in, they met with Yoshio Ojima and Satsuki Shibano, two trailblazers of the Japanese avant-garde music and visual arts scenes of the 1980s and 90s, to commence work on serenitatem. Leading up to the studio sessions, Doran and Carlile sent Ojima processed sound sketches recorded while on a European tour, which Yoshio would add to and return. Visible Cloaks would then fold Yoshio’s edits back into the original compositions, which Doran and Carlile brought to the exploratory recording session. During that week together in Tokyo, the quartet made use of a number of creative strategies — “echoing sound together,” as Yoshio puts it.
Accordingly, serenitatem is a marvelously sharp record, its sutures between human and machine virtually impossible to find but suggested everywhere you turn. The collaboration among Ojima, Satsuki, and Visible Cloaks is both musically and conceptually inseparable from the technology that made it possible.