The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Clouds

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Caitlind r.c. Brown Cloud, 2012
‘CLOUD is made from 1,000 working lightbulbs on pullchains and an additional 5,000 made from donated burnt out lights donated by the public. Visitors to the installation could pull the chains causing the cloud to sort of shimmer and flicker.’

 

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Abraham Poincheval Walk on Clouds, 2019
Digital video with sound played in loop

 

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John Baldessari YELLOW SKY, CLOUD, BLUE HORSEMAN, 1990
vinyl paint on black and white photograph on two joined boards

 

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Berndnaut Smilde Clouds, 2015-2016
‘Dutch artist Berndnaut Smilde discovered a way to create clouds in the middle of a room by carefully balancing temperature, humidity and lighting. In fact, he regularly uses those clouds in his artwork. To create the clouds, the space must be damp, cold and with no air circulation. Smilde creates a wall of water vapor and, by using a smoke machine, he sends a puff of artificial fog on a collision course. For just one shoot, he might create more than 100 clouds.’

 

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Tara Donovan Untitled (Styrofoam Cups), 2003
Styrofoam cups and hot glue, dimensions variable

 

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Kohei Nawa Foam, 2015
‘1. Produce a foam with mixture of detergent, glycerin and water. 2. Find a pitch-black room. 3. Pour the foam on the floor. 4. Done!’

 

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Alexandra Germán Prueba de Nubes I, 2011
‘A cloud shows us what does not last, it is the object that can not be maintained even with the look and that change from one second to another, the cloud speaks of a constant metamorphosis, reminds us the perishable; so I’m interested in its construction like a form to capture its transformation as if it were a still from a video, stop its transformation to constantly look within a picture.’

 

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Shinseungback Kimyonghun Cloud Face, 2012
‘In the artwork “Cloud Face” (2012), the artist collective Shinseungback Kimyonghun (a.k.a. Shin Seung Back and Kim Yong Hun) slyly critiques the shortcomings of drone vision. The piece collects dozens of cloud formations that facial recognition algorithms have mistakenly identified as human.’

 

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Rivane Neuenschwander Continent/Cloud, 2007
Continent/Cloud (2007) by Brazilian artist Rivane Neuenschwander is a kinetic work occupying the entire ceiling of a room. It consists of tiny white Styrofoam balls randomly moving over a translucent ceiling, activated by circulated air. This stimulus creates monochrome abstract forms that allude to both cartographic maps and the movement of the clouds in the sky.’

 

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Samantha Clark Cloud Chamber, 2004
Polyester dacron fibre, dimensions variable

 

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Ho Tzu Nyen The Cloud of Unknowing, 2011
The Cloud of Unknowing is an immersive multichannel video installation that explores the representation of the elusive and amorphous cloud. The piece is titled after an anonymous mystical treatise from a 14th-century medieval English text, which was written in the tradition of Christian Neoplatonists and intended to be used for contemplative prayer. The artist also drew inspiration from French philosopher Hubert Damisch’s (b. 1928) book A Theory of /Cloud/: Toward a History of Painting, first published in 1972, in which the author uses symbology (interpretation of symbols) and semiology (study of signs) to examine the significance of cloud imagery in art history.’

 

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‘Since its violent eruption on November 11, 2013, Sicilian volcano Mount Etna has been spurting ash regularly, the most recent of which are taking the form of smoke rings. Although it is difficult to assess their size due to the lack of a nearby landmark in the sky, the diameter of the rings is estimated to be between 50m and 100m.’

 

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Robert Morris Untitled (Cloud), 1962
Painted plywood

 

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Almut Linde Dirty Minimal #70, 2022
‘The sea of clouds against a blue sky reveals its origins on closer inspection: it is the Frimmersdorf lignite-fired power plant near Grevenbroich. The impression of cloud pictures from idyllic landscape paintings collides with the knowledge of their origins, thus interweaving romantic visual images with sociopolitical and ecological content.’

 

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Hans-Peter Feldmann Clouds, 2004
‘Hans-Peter Feldmann is a passionate collector of images and stories, an original thinker and a conceptual artist. Since the sixties, he has been collecting, producing, and exhibiting photographs. His relationship to the art world has been eccentric. In 1980, he destroyed most of his work and went into early retirement,only to pick up, a decade later, more or less exactly where he left off. Feldmann’s unique style recontextualizes everyday objects, cataloguing the commonplace and giving it new meanings.’

 

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Flaka Haliti I See a Face. Do You See a Face., 2013
I See a Face. Do You See a Face. is taken from the photo series with cloud motifs and poses a question that is formulated so that it can also be taken as a statement of fact.’

 

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Ugo Rondinone clouds, 2015
‘Rondinone’s images of clouds are almost completely empty of their object and its representation.’

 

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Forensic Architecture Cloud Studies, 2021
‘Mobilised by state and corporate powers, toxic clouds colonise the air we breathe across different scales and durations. Repressive regimes use tear gas to clear democratic protests from urban roundabouts. Carcinogenic plumes of petrochemical emissions smother racialised communities. Airborne chemicals such as chlorine, white phosphorous, and herbicides, are weaponised to displace and terrorise. Forest arson in the tropics creates continental-scale meteorological conditions, forcing millions to breathe toxic air.

‘It is a basic principle of forensics that, between solid objects, “every contact leaves a trace”. By contrast, clouds are the epitome of transformation, their dynamics are governed by nonlinear, multi-causal logics. This condition was apparent throughout the history of painting, when clouds, moving faster than the painter’s brush could capture them, needed to be imagined rather than described.

‘Clouds are always double. Seen from the outside they are measurable objects, seen from within they are experiential conditions of optical blur and atmospheric obscurity. Today’s clouds are both environmental and political. Their toxic fog is easily surrounded by lethal doubt. When ‘post-truth’ and denialism obscure acts of violence and compound the harm, we, the inhabitants of toxic clouds, must find new ways of resistance.’

 

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Chen Ruofan White Peach I, 2020
Oil on canvas

 

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Jean Dubuffet Homme et nuage [Man and Cloud], 1975
felt-tip pen and paper collage on paper

 

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Marjolijn Dijkman Cloud to Ground (#1), 2021 – 2022
‘The works in the sculptural series Cloud to Ground refer to fulgurites, a phenomenon commonly referred to as “fossilized lightning.” Formed when electricity discharges into the ground, these formations comprise masses of vitrified organic debris.’

 

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Cartier Osni 1, 2017
‘From afar, OSNI 1 is an intriguing sight: a cloud trapped in a framed glass cube and planted in the middle of the pavilion of the Palais de Tokyo, Paris. Though visually remarkable, especially at night, it is as an experiential work that it comes into play. The first in Cartier’s series of olfactory experiments has been brought into being by Cartier’s in-house perfumer Mathilde Laurent in collaboration with climate experts Transsolar. From the adjacent cafe, Laurent and I watch visitors through the clear walls of the cube, ascending a staircase one at a time and arriving in a cloud of perfume that is suspended very visibly in mid-air.’

 

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Peter Alexander Cloud Box, 1966
Depending on ambient light and the angle of vision, color shifts between airy blue and a smoggy, yellowish-gray hue. “Cloud Box” is like a small, immobilized chunk of mid-1960s L.A. sky, cut out with a miraculous saw and deposited onto a pedestal for close examination. (The city’s dirty air was a poster child for congressional passage of the Clean Air Act in 1963.) The boxed and billowy clouds, no matter how physically small and intimate, seem very far away, like the swelling puffs across the sky in a Jacob van Ruisdael landscape of the Haarlem bleaching fields, where Dutch linen was once produced.’

 

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Aziz Hazara Bow Echo, 2019
‘In Bow Echo, five boys climb and try to stay perched atop a large rock, battered by high winds. Their aim is to play a plastic children’s bugle to announce the urgency of their community’s plight against repression, which includes the murder of children and others. The eerie sounds express a connection with the landscape, in which many traumatic events have taken place.’

 

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HeHe Cloud Crash, 2016
Cloud Crash depicts micro-climates, pollution and artificially engineered clouds in provocative new contexts, blurring the boundaries between the natural and the man-made and bringing atmospheric science powerfully to life.’

 

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Joe Goode Torn Cloud Paintings, 1971
‘These works are part of a series of Torn Cloud paintings in which Goode scratched, ripped, and tore away the surface of the canvas. Goode undercuts the paintings’ illusionism by literally cutting into their surface, reversing the conventional figure/ground relationship and suggesting that something “behind the scenes” is being revealed. Two canvases are held together by a layer of plexiglass that reflects the space of the surrounding gallery and allows the viewer to see his or her image mirrored within the atmosphere of the torn clouds.’

 

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Es Devlin Blue Sky White, 2021
‘Es Devlin’s new work has been made in response to solar engineering proposals to ‘dim the sun’ in order to counter global heating, with unpredictable potential side effects including an end to blue skies.’

 

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Ou Wenting Mind-Wandering, 2019
‘A cloud hanged at the entrance of the exhibition space with a telescope coming out of it hides a small screen featuring words and sentences.’

 

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Rory Macdonald The Valley of Golden Souls, 2016
Oil on board

 

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David Medalla Cloud Canyons No. 3: An Ensemble of Bubble Machines, 1961
‘This work is a kinetic sculpture consisting of wooden boxes arranged in a circle on the gallery floor with a tall plastic tube placed at their centre. At the bottom of the tube is a quantity of soapy liquid that is turned into foam by compressors located inside the wooden portions of the sculpture. This results in the foam being projected upwards and out of the tube, forming a jet of bubbles that extends above head-height. The plastic of the tube is clear, such that once the bubbles are released they can be seen rising up inside the tube. The bubbles are produced constantly and form cloud-like clusters at the top of the tube, and once these clusters have been propelled upwards they drop back and slide slowly down the exterior of the tube to its base, where they rejoin the bath of soapy liquid from which they came.’

 

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Leandro Erlich Cloud, 2015
‘Argentinian artist Leandro Erlich suspended a model house above the construction site for a new underground tram system in the southern German city of Karlsruhe. The installation is designed to challenge the residents’ perception of the construction works as an “eyesore” and to act as a reminder that “underneath the tons of metal and concrete of our cities, a vital organic presence remains.”‘

 

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Adam David Brown Flight Path, 2012
‘Over a period of several weeks I video-taped the jet trails made by the airplanes that passed over my studio. Eventually, I could predict the time and the direction of the oncoming jets. It became apparent that the jets followed frequently traveled pathways and networks across the sky, extensions of the urban geography.’

 

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Cory Arcangel Super Mario Clouds, 2002
Super Mario Clouds is a 2002 multi-channel video installation artwork by Cory Arcangel that displays a modified version of the video game Super Mario Bros. in which all game assets besides the sky and clouds are removed.’

 

 

*

p.s. Hey. ** Dominik, Hi!!! Oh, jet lag really sucks. But not everybody gets it as roughly as I seem to. Like Zac never gets it, even when we traveled to Japan. Hopefully you’ll be like him when your first time traveling opportunity arises. My body likes regularity or something. Ha ha, there should be a board game for every difficult to verbalise situation. ‘Snuff: the Board Game’, things like that. Love commissioning Berndnaut Smilde to give your apartment a floating decoration and then using his magic powers to make it a permanent, never-dispersing addition — an airborne pet, if you will — and then asking you what you’re going to name it, G. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi. ‘Hero Quest’ looks kind of physically attractive. So, does that mean I’m still pre-adolescent? ** politekid, Howdy, O! That’s funny: McKenzie Wark just posted a photo of them playing the Debord game back in the day in my social media feed yesterday. What’s going on?! I always liked board games in theory when I was young, but the only ones that held my attention were the ones that had 3D relief landscape-y elements on their boards or ones where you had two build stuff, like ‘Mousetrap’. I also greatly preferred pop-up books to actual books. Early manifestations of my theme park fetish, I guess. No, I don’t know ‘Train’, but that looks really cool. I’m going to smear my brain all over it later. LA was very good. It was 97% work, which was the point. Highlights … finding amazing cast members, eating things I can’t eat in Paris (deep dish pizza, real Mexican food, great vegetarian sushi, etc.), doing haunted house attractions. Predictably. Nice that someone in the UK did Halloween up properly aka that woman you mentioned. Yeah, I was in LA for the Heaven’s Gate thing. Mm, I don’t remember what it was like other than it being a ‘wow’ due to its close proximity. I had friends who drove down to check out the site and stuff. For a while LA’s odious Museum of Death had a bunch of HG stuff on display like the bunk beds and stuff. I have not read June-Alison Gibbons’s ‘Pepsi-Cola Addict’, and obviously I will endeavor to do so post-haste. And what a cover! Wow, you’ve got me slobbery about it even. Franco Moretti … yes, I’ve read one book by him called, hold on, ‘Graphs, Maps, Trees’ that I remember liking a lot. Huh. I’ll read that essay by him you linked to maybe even today if my brain wakes up just a little bit more before nightfall (jet lag problems). I envy your recent book-ensconced life. Mine, whilst in LA, was 90% human interaction-centric, and now loneliness plus words beckons. My blog only let you in that one time, the bastard. Do you have a favorite cloud? Preferably IRL, but even URL will do. ** Sypha, Hey, James. Thanks! I tried. I don’t suppose you have photos or even remnants of those board games you made? Naturally, I am intrigued. ** Bill, Ha ha. Whatever you put into play, gig-wise, will be great. I hope there’s at least a video camera aimed at it. ** Charalampos Tzanakis, Oh, uh … yes, I think that post did pre-date my familiarity with ‘Niagara’, come to think of it. You were a ‘deep country boy’? That’s cool. I never was unless the deep suburbs count. No, instagram is fascist about visitors. People who are into Shawn Mendes seem to be the most boing people in the world unless I’m missing something. ** Steve Erickson, Yes, I read about the Pavement musical and it sounds like a truly awful idea, but hey. You gonna check it out? That makes sense: Parker Brothers. Huh. Your Andrew Bujalski interview looks like a must, cool. Everyone, Go read Steve Erickson’s article/interview entitled ‘Andrew Bujalski on the Resourcefulness of There There, Chantal Akerman, and the Evolution of Cinema’ if you know what’s good for you. Here. ** Gick, My blog’s spellcheck really wants your name to be Nick, but I thwarted that. Oh, okay, yeah, ‘The Sluts’, but that was a brief and weird fluke. I honestly don’t care about winning prizes or whatever. I would probably pay to have the cyst taken out privately just to get rid of the stress, but I am from the US where you have to pay for everything.My postal address remains its old self. Thank you! I’m excited! Paris seems to have my current number so far. Gray and raining and getting colder by the day, yum. I hope London’s current state has resulted from reading your mind. ** Trevor Bashaw, Hello, Trevor! Welcome! It’s very nice to meet you. Well, it’s good you feel that way about the MFA program as opposed to feeling like you’ve found nirvana. Which doesn’t make it any less boring, I guess. Fight the good fight. How am I gay and also write things? Um, those two things never seemed oppositional to me? I think I’m more of a writer than I am gay? Maybe that’s the secret? Dude, don’t let the MFA machine have power over you. Just use the occasion to make some renegade comrades who are similarly stuck in the program and aim for originality, and you’ll be fine. I doubt you’re cursed. Or I’m happy to try to talk you out of your curse if you are. ** malcolm, Hi. I hate nostalgia like the plague, but those EV days were pretty cool to live in, it’s true. I lived in NYC twice, for two years each time, and it was great, and I am also very glad I didn’t live there longer than that ‘cos it’s also taxing. But I do recommend having a stint there. I liked Scrabble too. I should find someone to play with, actually. My Wednesday was sleepy too (jet lag), but today has the slight hint of perkiness about it, so I’ll try to max that out. Are you feeling sparklier? ** Okay. I decided to make y’all a kind of pleasant post today. Enjoy the pleasantness, if it is pleasant, while it lasts. See you tomorrow.

10 Comments

  1. Charalampos Tzanakis

    His music is so boring, I can listen to a song for max 10 seconds. I come from deep Greek country, from the island Crete, town called Chania. I listen to tons of music I used to listen back then and it is super inspiring, I feel like I can go to a day in the early 00s like every day is the same. Mainly pop and R&b for inspiration. I do circles and experiments around the same neighbourhood I live in Athens for over ten years for inspiration – experiments in the local woods and then I go and write 😉

    I plan to come to Paris in a year to chase my dreams and learn French – I hope I can do it in a year. Last time I was in Paris I loved it so hard, it felt like home. I loved being in Lyon too. Do you like it there? I felt somewhat possessed (in good way). When I was there I had visions of Klossowski paintings (without having seen them that much before) and visions of the Baphomet at night and could not sleep at all. Later I read that the Knights Templar had underground tunnels there… It felt so good walking around the city, very inspiring. I can’t wait to go again and explore 😉

  2. Dominik

    Hi!!

    Dennis, this is the next idea that’ll potentially make you rich! “Snuff: the Board Game.” “I’m Pretty Sure I’ve Given You an STD: the Board Game.”

    Ah, love made the perfect choice because Berndnaut Smilde’s clouds are my favorite from today’s collection! I’d name my airborne pet… hmm… Puff. Hehe. Love trying to write a one-sentence review of “Cloud Atlas,” Od.

  3. Sypha

    No Warhol’s silver clouds? Too kitsch/played out? Oh well.

    Dennis, I’m sure some of the boards or maybe a few of the cards might be scattered around in bins somewhere here and there, but probably incomplete. I forgot to mention it yesterday, but I also did a pen-and-paper Legend of Zelda-themed roleplaying game as well. Anyway, one of the good things growing up is that, what with my 3 brothers plus my parents, there were always plenty of people around to play games.

  4. h now j

    Dennis!!! I missed you. How was your LA trip? I emailed you a few days ago, but it was also sent to someone else, so I couldn’t be giddy to talk to you! I just got back from LA… no! I already taught after I returned. Omg, this cloud post is beautiful. And it was amazing to see the sky from the planes. I couldn’t get to the Hungtinton or anywhere else this time. I was staying in UCLA & busy with stuff, so stayed around that area. Alas. Hopefully, longer next time!

  5. _Black_Acrylic

    When the Queen died a few weeks ago, this cloud formation resembling her silhouette appeared in the skies above a random English town. I think readers of the Daily Mail might be more inclined to believe that supernatural forces were somehow at work there.

  6. politekid

    100% with you on the 3D relief board games. my favourites when i was young were Goosebumps-brand ones where you were in a haunted graveyard or theme park trying not to get knocked out by rollercoasters or coffin ferris wheels (how did i not mention the Goosebumps theme park game yesterday?! _One Day at Horrorland_. there are lots of images on Google and i also found this youtube… playthrough, i guess? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7r8esfzm2uk) pop-up books: yes. dunno if i preferred them but certainly into them; one of those forms (along with the choose-your-own-adventure) which i wish some French New Novelist had exploited. have you done a pop-up book day yet?… yes, 2017. giving that a read asap.
    i’m glad to hear the trip was a success! but obv now wish you all the time away from people & towards paper. when do you have to jet back over (i assume for the filming)?
    fave clouds: hmmm… i mean, i’m particularly into the Dubuffet and Abraham Poincheval and Robert Morris and Joe Goode you’ve posted. i think my go-tos are going to be kinda conservative in comparison. Ghibli clouds, Peanuts clouds (https://www.gocomics.com/peanuts/1960/08/14) and Qiu Ying’s clouds knock me out in general. i’m a big fan of the rly subtle rainclouds in Winifred Knights’s _The Deluge_. nuclear clouds are super, as are chemtrails. the queen cloud _Black_Acrylic linked to haha, jesus, what a time to be alive. URL-wise, when Simone Veil deleted her (excellent) webcomic _Pictures for Sad Children_, she originally replaced the website with a page called “LOOK AT THESE CLOUDS” which just had footage of clouds on it. i liked that a lot. when i was about 4 or 5yrs old i had a very vivid & formative nightmare in which i was eaten by God, who appeared as a gigantic black stormcloud — so that’s probably my actual favourite, or at least the most influential on me. what about you?

  7. Jamie

    Hey Dennis.
    Wow, I think the above comment from politekid might have rendered me speechless. You know, like when a really good band goes on before your own? Eaten by god as a gigantic black stormcloud? Too good.
    I’m a lover of clouds so most pleased by this pleasant post. I really really love the idea of making fake clouds, esp indoors, so those Berndnaut Smilde photos are nice, although I can’t help but wish the non-cloud parts of the images were cooler. I also like the Robert Morris Cloud a lot.
    And big hats off to you for Board Games Day too! That’s made me think about board games in ways both nostalgic (my uncle who always bought us weird off-brand games that were kind of great) and inventive – would I like to make a board game? Would you? I’ve been enjoyable cogitating about board games for two days now, so thanks.
    How are you? I hope the jet lag is getting better by the second.
    I did go and see La Coquille et le Clergyman and liked it a lot (it had a particularly pleasing shot of some clouds!), although there was a live soundtrack which was a guy playing an acoustic guitar through a loop pedal and that was a wee bit distracting. But so nice to see something that of that ilk on the big screen. Have you watched that Herzog doc? I’m not so crazy about his docs as a lot of folk seem to be, but I’ve only seen a couple.
    Hope you have a lovely Friday. Any plans?
    Art-Garfunkel-says-he’s-walked-across-Europe-but-he-did-it-in-sections-over-seventeen-years-so-I-think-he’s-a-cheat love,
    Jamie

  8. malcolm

    i’m obsessed w this post, i’ve always loved clouds. i think the styrofoam cups one is my favourite, it looks so cool. thinking about joni mitchell and her albums “clouds” that i love so much <3

    got to sleep in today which was good for me. i miss having downtime. been very busy working my (one stupid and one fun) retail jobs… the life of an aspiring artist, right?

    been very obsessed with soon-to-be innocent fun / let's see by arthur today, as well as the album "daughter" by raum, which is a group composed of liz harris, from grouper, and jefre cantu-ledesma. ambient perfection!

    • arby

      was just listening to world of echo yesterday. love so much

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