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devon welsh

Devon Welsh's First Solo Release: Out of the Cloudz and 'Down the Mountain'

Music ReviewWeston PaganoComment

Majical Cloudz may have sadly dissipated, but as promised Devon Welsh has not slowed, and on his first solo release (not an “album,” but merely a “collection”) since, Down the Mountain, he proves that even in tracks deemed excess he is capable of smoothly tapping into your synapses with a softer pierce and purer honesty than most would-be crooners could ever hope to achieve.

Welsh explains,

This is a small collection of songs that were written at different times over the last two years. Some of them were written during the same time as ‘Are You Alone?’ but did not end up on that album for one reason or another. Others were written and recorded for fun last summer.

I want to release all these songs because I like them a lot and since I am working on new music, my attention will inevitably go to that new music and these songs will be forgotten, and forgotten songs are sad.

So this isn’t an album, and it isn’t an album of ‘new music’, but it’s a collection of older songs that I like and that I feel deserve to be released.

Note: The recordings might sound a bit rough, I mixed and mastered it myself and am in the process of learning how to be better at that..

The titular track consoles a friend over the loss of their mother with the belting of “It’s alright" willing its soothing empathy to eclipse the darkness through volume as we’re treated to Welsh’s boldest vocal injection in recent memory. This gives away to a bouncy piano trot paired with lyrics as light as you’ll hear from the Montrealiant; “Every month is a pleasure / Enjoy this love with me.” “I want to sing to a room full of strangers just for fun / Oh what could be stranger,” Welsh admits in “I Won’t Let You Down,” hopefully hinting at solo performances to come, signature white shirt and all, the blankness of which always served as the perfect canvas for his soliloquies.

It’s fitting that his last tweet before the release was, “I hope I'm alive to see close-up images of other habitable planets, or even any planets outside our solar system…” Welsh’s music has always started with the bare-bones necessities - a rock, an atmosphere - and seemingly welded them together a galaxy away before gently beaming them back closer to home than you could have ever anticipated at first glance.

Collection closer “Dreams” ends with, “I will help you dream / I am your friend,” a sentiment not many could get away with in any meaningful way as he does, but with a steadily ebbing earnestness the heavy space inherent between Down the Mountain’s airy melodies and sedative vocals trawls the deepest veins of feeling such minimalism can mine. The hum and quiver of synthesizers are the breath and pulse while Welsh’s murmurs are the consciousness dancing upon them, but in a way altogether more beautiful than the sum of the parts. Words fail to quite describe such flawless liquidity.

“I don’t know why we’re born and we die,” “Starlight” ponders. It may be the mystery for the ages, but one thing is for sure: Welsh’s continued creative output into this world gives it just a little more meaning to hold on to.

Now We Are Alone: Majical Cloudz Is Disbanding

Music NewsWeston PaganoComment

Sadly, it seems like the majic is ending.

Only a month after former tour-mates Youth Lagoon did the sameMajical Cloudz has announced through social media today that they are breaking up. Including their most recent release, the Wait & See extended play, and last year's phenomenal full length Are You Alone? (which was Transverso's #2 album of 2015), the dreamy duo graced us with two LPs, two EPs, and a handful of one-off singles in the short four years since their first performance in March, 2012. Their final show is in Montreal this Thursday, March 10.

Devon Welsh and Matthew Otto combined to create some of the most sharply evocative music of our generation. A visceral series of confessions shrouded in the most soothing of soundscapes, it cut deep to the simple core and personified it in plain sight: a synthesizer, a microphone, a white shirt, an unwavering gaze.

I remember listening to Impersonator at my mother's house when it first came out. "Are you depressed or something?" she asked, and I laughed. Despite the undoubtedly melancholy outward appearance of Majical Cloudz, it was never an inherently negative emotional experience; even at their darkest points their songs are paradoxically uplifting upon the same waves of the flood that drowns you down, as ethereal melodies lift you over brooding, coursing vocals. It's a uniquely comforting closure. It's one we need now more than ever.

All along Welsh seemed to prepare us for the end. "If you won't be seen again / I hope you know you were my friend / And in my head the world will never hurt you," he offers in Are You Alone?'s aptly titled opener, "Disappeared." It's truly not easy news to swallow, but if we've learned anything from Majical Cloudz it's how to properly eulogize:

"He was obsessed, and it was okay."