Nico Georis - Cloud Suites - Vinyl Record
Nico Georis has always straddled (or, rather, negotiated) multiple dimensions. As a child, Georis flitted between the rigors of classical training and DIY experimentation—studying under a disciple of Franz Lizst (a mentorship that would enshrine the piano as his primary instrument), then squirreling away to the basement of his childhood home, strewn as it was with his father’s instruments and home-audio equipment, to play and record freely. Despite his evident virtuosity as a trained pianist, Georis has, across numerous projects, stints, incarnations, and chapters, persisted in this gentle and exploratory approach to music-making. Foregoing the pursuit of technical mastery and acclaim within the confines of the contemporary classical world, he has dedicated his talents to songcraft, broadly-defined — channeling unseen (or inaugurating altogether new) worlds through melody and repetition.
Conceived after an isolating, five-year struggle with a severe case of Lyme disease, Cloud Suites (out June 9th on Leaving Records) documents Georis’s initial return to experimental ambient keyboard compositions. Conceptually, there is little ambiguity here: the songs—the “suites”—are clouds, or, rather, reflections of clouds, each named after a particular formation. Track titles range from the meteorologically specific to the expressive: “Cumuloids,” “Sundog,” and “Soft Yellow Gazers.” Georis composed the suites in real-time, peering out the windows of his Big Sur cabin-home/recording studio (dubbed The Sky Shed), responding improvisationally to render specific clouds as music—in effect to pluck them from the sky. Georis has referred to this process as a kind of musical game, and, indeed, its end product conveys the recurring and joyful revelations of play.
But for a project born of levity and improvisation, Cloud Suites’ path to realization has been winding—harrowing, even. Over three years in the making, the recording process was beset by all manner of technological and environmental setbacks, ranging from broken equipment to a mudslide that tore through the Sky Shed. Nevertheless, even as other projects saw fruition (see 2022’s beautifully elegiac Desert Mirror) the Cloud Suites continued to gestate. When circumstances finally aligned, Georis entered the studio with a rag-tag collection of tape recordings. Performing over these Cloud demos, Georis would eventually weave these initial recordings into finished tracks, an analogue collage/cut-up approach recalling his childhood basement experiments, and his long-time affinity for Dub.
Morphing seamlessly across eleven tracks, Cloud Suites functions wonderfully as a record (that is to say, as a discrete release—a standalone musical artifact), but one also senses the limitlessness of the project. Having stumbled, largely by accident, upon this inviting dimension (at once bracingly psychedelic and achingly nostalgic), Georis may not wish to close the door behind him. Or maybe it isn’t his door to close.