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Michael Vallera, formerly of the group Cleared, produces a synth-led dark ambient sound-world for his debut on Opal Tapes. Droning synths and thudding vintage drum machines stalk a pathway to the door of your subconscious fears. Distance implies one of those old Italian gothic horror films, something I’m sure is no accident.

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  • OPAL060 / LP on Opal Tapes
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Distance by Michael Vallera 1 review. Add your own review. 7/10
7 people love this record. Be the 8th!

7/10 Staff review, 12 August 2015

Bringing us his Opal Tapes debut is US producer Michael Vallera, who is one half of Cleared where ambient things are made with Steven Hess, who must have spurred Vallera into activity with all his shenanigans with Pan American, Anjou and Locrian among others.

Distance is a blend of gloomy, ambient synth yawns and minimal beat elements played cautiously, as if treading through a crowd of drummers, occasionally stepping on a toe lazily draped over a cymbal. The press release is correct, it’s very gothik, the lo-fi (lack of) detail adding to the brooding murk and boiling atmospheres. The drums were just too sparse for our Clint, who described them as being ‘whacked randomly’, but there’s some sort of frail pattern here, despite its shyness. Hey, it’s shy music.

80s Italian horror film chic is all the rage right now, and this couldn’t help but jump on that. It’s the same as that in that has the same tone as all dark soundtracks despite the inclusion of 80s gated drums on one tune, the opener. That aside, it’s a dark release for dark people, even though every track is as dark as the last. Dark.



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