“Source of Serenity” by Illuvia

Illuvia proves quite adept at blending blissed out ambience and drum n’ bass chaos.

One album that I listened to a lot last year — though sadly, I don’t think I ever posted anything about it on Opus — was Illuvia’s Iridescence of Clouds. Turns out, I’m an absolute sucker for the blend of drifting ambience and drum n’ bass beats, and Iridescence of Clouds has both of those things in abundance.

So imagine my delight when Ludvig Cimbrelius announced a new trip through his self-described “vaporous rhythmic soundworld.” Iridescence of Clouds (Sea of Vapor) expands on his previous album, compiling alternate versions and discarded tracks from the original Iridescence of Clouds sessions. As Cimbrelius puts it:

During the two-year process of creating the music that became Iridescence of Clouds, I ventured deep in attempts to give form to visions I’ve been catching glimpses of since my youth. Translating emotional landscapes to sound is somewhat of an undertaking when you care about every detail. As it often happens for me when working on an album, the alternate versions and discarded tracks were legion. Amongst them were everything from sketches to almost finished tracks that had been part of the album at some point, later to be replaced and left by the wayside. A while after the release I found myself revisiting these versions and outtakes, and I began gathering up a selection to form another album that I called Sea of Vapor.

“Source of Serenity” is one of the best examples of Cimbrelius’ take on ambient drum n’ bass. His lush, atmospheric textures are at once melancholy, contemplative, and euphoric. Given that the song is nearly eight minutes long, it takes its time developing, drawing the listener in. And when the clattering beats eventually emerge, they add a fascinating dynamism to the song. Cimbrelius holds these two opposing elements in tension quite well; for all their chaos, the frentic and crashing beats never overwhelm the delicate atmospherics, but rather, accentuate and enhance them.

Iridescence of Clouds (Sea of Vapor) is currently available as a free-to-download digital release as well as a limited edition double CD. All proceeds from digital sales will go to support the efforts of Unicef Ukraine and Nova Ukraine.