Tag Archives: Visible Cloaks

Album of the Day: Visible Cloaks, Yoshio Ojima & Satsuki Shibano, “FRKWYS Vol. 15: serenitatem”

If anyone (besides the artists themselves) deserves credit for the sudden obsession with Japanese ambient music, it’s Spencer Doran. The Visible Cloaks co-founder spent nearly a decade sharing his favorite songs with the world, beginning with the foundational mix Fairlights, Mallets and Bamboo and its no-less-enlightening sequel. Doran’s love of artists like Midori Takada and Hiroshi Yoshimura runs so deep, in fact, that Light in the Attic tapped him to curate last year’s Kankyō Ongaku compilation of corporate-sponsored “environmental music” (muzak, essentially) from the ’80s.

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A Guide to 15 Years of RVNG’s Artfully Curated Electronics


Ask Matt Werth to reflect on the past 15 years of running the New York label RVNG Intl. and he’ll quickly, but kindly, shift the attention to other people. Not because the Madison, Wisconsin native is too busy or wary of writers; it’s because RVNG is more of a tight-knit art collective than a traditional record company.

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Biggest Ups: Over 40 Artists Share Their Favorite Albums of 2017


Bandcamp artists pick their favorite albums of the year.

One of the features on Bandcamp Daily that generates the greatest amount of enthusiasm is Big Ups. The concept is simple: we ask artists who used Bandcamp to recommend their favorite Bandcamp discoveries. So, in honor of our Best of 2017 coverage, we decided to take Big Ups and super-size it. Here, more than 40 artists to tell us their favorite albums of the year.

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On “Reassemblage,” Visible Cloaks Have the World at Their Fingertips

Visible Cloaks

Visible Cloaks by Jonathan Sielaff

As a genre, the phrase “world music” is as imprecise as it is historically fraught. It dates back to a much-storied meeting of music industry insiders in 1987, when a cabal of record label executives, musicians, and journalists gathered in a room above a pub in London. Discussing how to boost the popularity of non-Western artists with Western audiences, they decided on a catch-all term to help shops currently struggling to categorize the artists. As a pragmatic solution, it proved wildly successful, but it’s always implied an uncomfortable, imaginary divide. “World artists” are framed as “authentic examples” of a distant, exotic culture; it positions them outside the shifting musical currents that shape and re-purpose contemporary music.

On Reassemblage, Visible Cloaks attempt to do something like the opposite. A duo, made up of Spencer Doran and Ryan Carlile, their music combines traditional instruments from all over the world. Taking cues from pioneering, Japanese synth meddlers—like Yellow Magic Orchestra and Ryuichi Sakamoto—the pair filter different sounds into a pin-sharp, hi-res clarity, seeking to bridge borders rather than reinforce them. The results sound like a product of everywhere and nowhere all at once.

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