Silver Cloud arrives in advance of Darren Cunningham's promised fourth album, Ghettoville, whose existence has been mooted since the release of last year's crystalline R.I.P. It's in line with previous form—he has a well-established history of pre-empting each new album with a 12-inch of more impenetrable material, each of which tends to bear some resemblance to its full-length companion, but rarely enough to offer any concrete clues in advance. Mood-wise, the three tracks are more in line with his debut, Hazyville, than any of his more recent output via Honest Jon's, although the techno that pulsed and glimmered through his older material is largely absent here. We're treated to three soporific symphonies of fizz, hiss, crackle and, on the lovely "Silver Cloud Dream Come True," glassy tones that chime through the mix like synthetic gamelan, any rhythmic thrust only present by implication.
Thanks to a clicky garage beat during its second half, A-side "Voodoo Posse Chronic Illusion" is the most upbeat thing here, but even that's a relative measure: it doesn't so much swing as stumble wearily around, like a sleepwalker experiencing a particularly violent dream. A softly plucked harp phrase that loops and swirls through the track's middle is reminiscent of Rounds-era Four Tet, but where Kieran Hebden's work at the time was pastoral in tone, Cunningham, as ever, feels grounded within an urban or suburban setting. The omnipresent background rumble of city living is expressed as an undercurrent of raw electricity that crackles its way through the middle distance. It's impossible to predict quite what relationship Silver Cloud might have with Ghettoville proper, but after segments of R.I.P found Cunningham slipping off this mortal coil entirely, the physicality of these three pieces might well hint at a return to rather more earthly concerns.
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Tracklist: Actress - Silver Cloud EP 01. Voodoo Posse Chronic Illusion
02. Floating In Ecstasy
03. Silver Cloud Dream Come True