Label: Carpark Release date: 25/10/10 Link: Amazon “Most impressive,” said the faceless shadow, looming behind the edifice of some large monitor. Despite the liquid crystal display’s own supply of light the man remained hidden in dark, only expelling small puffs of grey cigar smoke every thirty seconds or so. This man would be responsible for deciding the fate of Dylan Baldi (d/b/a Cloud Nothings) as a musician, either making the 18 year olds dreams come true or dashing them against rocks unceremoniously. As he shifts the placard on his desk that reads “Internet” he laughs, the sound somehow entering Baldi’s ears from every angle conceivable by the human mind. “I like the way you carry yourself, young man. I will see that your album gets what you call ‘buzz,’” intones the figure with a slight air of self-satisfaction. “What is your long playing album titled? I must remove the vowels so Mediafire will not notice that your copyright has been infringed.” “Turning On,” says Dylan, voice shaking to the point where he sounds a bit like Wyclef in the new version of We Are The World. “TRNNG N CLDNTHNGS,” the figure called “Internet” manages to say coherently, somehow not pronouncing the vowels and turning the resulting mash of consonants into a viable word. “I recorded this myself, sir. I would appreciate it if I could possibly get some money to pay for, well, life,” Baldi says, backing away in a style akin to Japanese dogeza. Something within him stirs and quakes, maybe his actual insides, maybe not. Dylan Baldi sits in solemnity now, gazing at the purple-tinged carpet (which itself is a matte black, the purple shining through in scant thin pinstripes), thinking of how he will describe his album to the entire Internet. He knows that the question of the sound will arise soon, as it is inevitable, a feat he undertook several times already to get the chance to speak to an entity known only as The Ruler Of The Internet amongst a select few members of a secretive electronic priory. The Ruler stares at Baldi, into his eyes, into his soul, looks through him as if he were vapor, a ghost, vodka, nothing more than a human shaped glow that obfuscates the designer black chairs that adorn the black room. The room itself is a black chamber through and through, almost devoid of actual depth save for several areas clearly illuminated by soft yellow lights – the seating in the room and the placard on the large, white trimmed, Swedish minimalist desk. “Mr. Baldi, how will I describe Turning On? I must have words to give.” Dylan thinks for no fewer than 45 seconds. He speaks: “Call it what it is: lo-fi pop. People will compare me to Wavves, of course, since I did it all myself and distorted the vocals a bit here and there. People will compare me to anything on Woodsist or even call me similar to the band Beat Happening. Know that Cloud Nothings is a project that is only my heart. I know that the next album will be recorded cleanly and that this is just a first offering in a style that I was able to achieve. Mr…Internet, please tell everybody who will hear this or see my album that it sounds like other things only superficially and that my songwriting goes beyond these predecessors.” The Ruler cannot deny that that assessment is correct, for he has already listened to the album several times. There are tinges of those bands, but the songwriting is somehow stronger and more earnest, the playing less off-kilter, the vocals more in line with classic lo-fi than this new miasma deemed “shit-fi” and “shit-gaze.” “Baldi, I know that you deplore some terms for your music, but I will say that they will appear. Only so many benchmarks can be used for an album.” “I accept.” Now a large sheet of legal paper, almost foolscap, materializes on the desk in front of Baldi. It is a release allowing his copyright to be infringed minimally for buzz and notoriety amongst the indie scene. Dylan Baldi thinks about it for a long while, what seems like hours but is only five minutes, and slowly nods his head. “I will do this. I want people to hear this. I know it is good.” Some days pass. Dylan Baldi resumes college life. His friends download his album from a mysterious uploader, praise him, and then turn it in to every major outlet in a bid to help their friend out. As a result of their work, Cloud Nothings get some minor notice. Frustration sets in and Dylan Baldi e-mails The Ruler, requesting more attention. After multiple versions of the same MAILER-DAEMON error flood his inbox for the next seventeen weeks, Baldi starts to receive calls and e-mails from blogs, eventually receiving an unmarked call at two in the morning. Things have worked, or at least the voice on the other end at two in the morning has said they have…and something about a carport. Carpark Records agrees to release the album, and it turns out to be a great choice. Turning On is one of the best things to come out this year for lo-fi pop (which has been waaaay too big this year), a combination of beautiful sunny melodies and laid back playing that belie the personal lyrics. The pitfalls of his choice of fidelity are obviously recognized, here used to its advantage and already noted as a thing not to repeat by the band. Dylan Balid, I praise thee and will await your next release with high anticipation. [The first two paragraphs and the first six sentences of the last paragraph are works of fiction. I apologize for the sudden shift of writing focus and style.] Photobucket