Clouds Of David was made almost entirely on a Yamaha SU700, written and recorded in just two weeks. Each track hews to a similar formula, where a bed of babbling electronics spreads across six or seven minutes and gentle melodies coast overhead like contrails. Palermo often loses his way without a kick drum—some tunes feel like a string of ambient clichés, or are little more than surface-level prettiness. Opener "Yogi AM" beckons you in with glassy pads and a warm heartbeat, and by minute three it's locked into a rut that doesn't change for six more.
When Palermo goes beyond mere exercise, the results are far better. "River Drum" feels like bleep techno slowed down to a morphine drip. The elements float by in illusory vapour trails, a more meditative version of the effusive melodies he writes as Magic Touch. Even better is "Your Way," which makes tropes like birdsong and glacial chord progressions sound truly affecting again. That's partly from the glitchy static that tugs at the track's bottom, a fuzzy tension that also surfaces on highlight "Meera & Geetesh." On that one, Palermo teases otherworldly sounds out of his keyboard that'll make you swear there's a guitar in the mix (there isn't), and the texture offers something concrete to latch onto.
Those highlights are all clustered in the early section of the album. By the time we get to nine-minute standstill "Lost In Asia," the music starts to feel empty. Good ambient pieces can retain a shape even if you can't quite figure out what that shape is; too many songs here feel formless. Clouds Of David is a pleasant diversion, with a few clever surprises. It's something to put on the background, something that shades the room rather than shapes it.