Sam Ricketts and Tom Clarke, who make up Cloud Boat, dont know what theyre doing. Or they know exactly what theyre doing. They cant really decide. Like many of the Brits that manage to garner widespread acclaim for their textured take on shuffling electronic music, they werent born and bred beatheads. Clarke and Ricketts first began making music together in metal bands while their hair was still long and they were yet teenagers, but as the two reached their college years, their burgeoning interest in the alluring sounds of dank London clubs began to seep into the music they were making.
After chunking out a couple of singles of listless electro-singer-songwriter tunes over the last couple of years, the duo set out to work on their full-length debut Book of Hours, citing a desire to consciously [. . .] make music with no idea where [they] wanted to take it as the main objective (or lack thereof) for the recording process. But as Ricketts and Clarke have noted in other interviews, the title of the record refers to a Christian devotional book popular in Northern Europe in the Middle Ages. At its best, Book of Hours has an intimate spirituality at play in its sonics that breathes a bit of substance into a decidedly populist take on UK bass music. Wanderlust pairs a Blake-ian vocal sample with a plodding drum clatter and Clarkes careful vocal take, with the reverb knob turned all the way up to “cathedral.” Its club music from the heart of the chapel, something at once intensely personal and outwardly radiant in a distinctly sacred way.
Its a compelling marriage of sacrosanct and profane, but not one that Cloud Boat could maintain over the course of the entirety of Book Of Hours. Lions On The Beach and Bastion carry that thread, but much of what surrounds (and separates) these successes falls into the duos other stated objective of controlled sonic exploration. The best of Book Of Hours proves that Ricketts and Clarke do indeed know exactly what theyre doing, so why fuck around and wait for happy accidents?
Essential Tracks: Bastion, Wanderlust