Chip Bit Sid Takes On: Glooms – ‘Vanilla Dome’

- Posted May 16th, 2019 by

I have had my hands full with Chip Bit Day, so instead of reviewing something new I decided to look back to an album that was released last year on ‘Datafruits’. ‘Vanilla Dome’ by ‘Glooms’ was a truly fantastic album. Created using a copy of Nanoloop 2 synced up to a Korg Electribe Drum Machine, Vanilla featured a vast amount skill with sound engineering and programming.

For a little bit of context, ‘Glooms’ is a project started by Tanner Hughes, in Seattle, Washington. ‘Glooms’ focusses on not using Nanoloop 2, but plenty of various hardware, spanning over a variety different machines, from Sega Megadrive and Nanoloop 2 to Electribes and Ableton. Recently ‘Glooms’ has been experimenting with an Elektron Groovebox, sampling sounds from Nanoloop and manipulating them on the fly! As usual with my reviews I’ll picking three tracks that particularly resonated with me.

We begin with ‘Vanilla Dome 1’, which kicks out vibes like a chilled out Sunday morning in bed. Starting out with shimmering arpeggio scattering itself, it’s soon built upon by the rolling sound of eclectic drum beats that are complimentary towards the chilled out nature, like rocks to a scotch. Seriously though, the drums pop beautifully, with instruments such as the kick giving off just a tight, high toned click. Check out ‘1:09’ for a good example of what I’m talking about. Outside of the percussion, the melodies are also sublime, weaving about perfectly with each other. Filter and delay effects are further added in for good measure, providing an extra layer for the dynamics of ‘Vanilla Dome 1’ but giving the extra kick that the song needed.

‘Glooms’ continues the lovely vibes with another rendition of ‘Vanilla Dome’ called ‘Vanilla Dome 2’. This track is a lot longer than the first, coming in at just over 4 minutes. Whilst ‘Vanilla Dome 2’ is sounds pretty much the same as its predecessor, the tone feels a lot more somber and dark. This is especially true with the final part that comes in at the 3 minute mark. The drums seem to end and ‘Glooms’ focuses more on the manipulation of Nanoloop’s FM synth, sounding utterly harrowing and beautiful. Furthermore Vanilla Dome 2’s ends superbly with its sad and spooky vibes, as it lays the carpet down for the third track of the album, ‘Lifestyles of The PNW’.

Whilst ‘Vanilla Dome 1’ is more an upbeat chilled tune to melt to, the opposite can be said for my next pick track, ‘Lifestyles of The PNW’, which comes across feeling more like an exorcism of house music. This is down to the several hooks, such as, ‘The chanting keys’, which ring out like a choir of gouls in unison. This sound is used for much of Glooms’ music and particularly effective; here’s some context as to why. To the listener, all this sounds very uncanny and strange. This is because ‘Glooms’ has de-tuned much of the sound as well as using oddly matching notes, making each chord sound slightly out of key. The method in turn makes the listener cringe slightly because of the unfamiliarity of the sound. It’s mainly down to this why ‘Lifestyles of The PNW’ stands out as a fantastic track for many on ‘Vanilla Dome’ album. One other thing that contributes to the signature sound, is the constant use of delay on each and every channel, whilst using dynamics on the speakers. It’s particular effective practice for ‘Glooms’ when trying to push ghastly themes and further helps emphasise the ‘gloomy’ mood.

Glooms’ ‘Vanilla Dome’ was an interesting listen, namely down to Glooms being one of the few artists who takes advantage of Nanoloop’s syncing capabilities. I’ve only seen a couple artists do this (2xAA and Cheapshot to name a few). It is also one album that has songs that are constantly on my listening rotation. Whilst Nanoloop 2.0 can be quite limited sometimes in it’s form compared to LSDJ, there are a few points make the software far stronger than the latter, with the easiness to sync up play being a big win for me. Looking back at the collection Nanoloop releases of 2018, I feel Gloom’s ‘Vanilla Dome’ was one of the best and is up there with Boaconstructor’s, ‘Winds Of Null’.

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