Cloud Management is a project concerned with processes and progress. Featuring Love-Songs members Thomas Korf and Sebastian Kokus and the prolific Ulf Schütte, the Hamburg-based trio has tirelessly expanded upon its sound and extended its musical style. After 2022’s »s/t« documented the results of their first jam sessions as a newly-founded group, »V.A.« started even more modestly and became an even bigger undertaking. Originally conceived as a small one-off release, it grew into a full record which sees the group embracing dub music, collaborating with Peaking Lights’ Aaron Coyes and inviting other artists—No UFO’s, Seekers International, Coco Em—who reworked select tracks in true dub style. »V.A.« is marked by inconsistency, openness, and heterogeneity in the best sense of those words: ever-changing, constantly surprising and consistently in motion.
The starting point for »V.A.« was a Hamburg concert in December 2022 together with Coyes, who played a solo set as Peaking Lights. On the request of the event organiser, Cloud Management teamed up with him for a jam session after the gig, laying the foundation for a track that the group took to the studio before sending it to Coyes to record vocals for it. Another song quickly followed and even though the band initially intended to release »PST« and »0rten Pitch« as standalone 7″ single, they soon decided to have others create versions of the two tunes to round them off in the form of a 12″ EP. Once more though, one thing led to another and now »V.A.« collects five original pieces by Cloud Management as well as three—four on the digital version—remixes by other artists.
Collaborating with Leipzig-based Canadian producer No UFO’s, the Canadian Seekers International collective, and Kenyan multi-disciplinary artist Coco Em came about organically. As fans of their friend Konrad Jandavs’ work for labels such as Spectrum Spools, Root Strata and his own Nice Up International, Korf, Kokus and Schütte asked him for a remix and granted him full creative freedom for his take on »PST«. Jandavs also connected them with the prolific Richmond-based soundsystem worshippers, who present their take on the same track on this record as well as a version of »Electric CD«. Also this track appears three times on the record, having been re-rubbed by Emma Mbeki Nzioka, who was introduced to the the trio by its label Altin Village & Mine.
There isn’t really a common thread running through the rough digi-dub of No UFO’s take on »PST«, Seekers International’s traditionally-minded yet infinitely playful dub-psychedelia and Coco Em’s bass-heavy, percussive, pulsating take on »Electric CD«. However, as a group dedicated to staying in flux at all times, Cloud Management ended up embracing the creative differences between their own work and those of their respective collaborators. In calling it »V.A.«, they paid tribute to their somewhat loose, but conceptually consistent concept of giving various artists full creative licence over their own work. Neither a true album in the strict sense of the world nor just a compilation, »V.A.« is actually the essential Cloud Management record: ever-changing, constantly surprising, consistently in motion.
Written by: Alejandro Serrano
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