CLOUDS OVER UTOPIA - The Greenland Collectives Review
Reviewer: Charbel Haddad - 2016-08-16
Highlights: Debut Album (Ambient-Progressive)
We find it difficult most times to be able to express our emotions to one another, yet there is always that one person that can depict all that you feel without having to be inside our minds. I guess that Mohammad Al Lahham of the band Clouds Over Utopia was able to do so with his debut “The Greenland Collectives” along with Entisar Mohannayeh who greatly contributed in the making of the album.
At first I thought that the tracks would all sound the same with repetitive chords played with a spacey reverb; I guess I was wrong (and I’m glad I was). One after the other, the tracks progressed and made way to deeper paths. The progression can be heard with the instruments that were slowly added into the mix without breaking the mood, and the concept can be felt in the album cover itself done by both Mohammad and Entisar. When asked about the visual content, Mohammad tells us that “it talks about the journey of a man who lost it all, to someone who thought was the one, yet he was greatly mistaken. And it caused him to lose himself, inside his own mind, and get disconnected from his own reality to an alternative reality he created himself, with the Idea of that person, the idea he is left with, along with the memories. Where they first and last met. Around the corner of their street.”
For Clouds Over Utopia, it has been a long wait with lots of writings that go back to 2010 yet Mohammad has no intentions on simply stopping at “The Greenland Collectives”. He tells us that the project has been around since 2010 and ever since the beginning he has been recording whatever comes to mind and inspires him and that currently he is working on his second album. But the real amazement is learning that this particular album we’re talking about was supposed to include vocals but didn’t due to some difficulties; yet it’s still able to send through the message without the need of the lyrical content and did not feel as if there is a sort of lack in the atmosphere.
Although the quality is not what I expected and playing Beethoven’s Moonlight sonata seemed lacking (and would have been preferably played as written), the album was well delivered from the opening track “She Remains…” till it’s closure with “Wonderful Tonight”.
Describing this album would be very difficult and if we are to do so think of it as if it was taken from an old box that says “Unreleased David Gilmour” or consider it as a massive mash-up between “Devin Townsend, Alcest, Anathema, Brian Eno, Steven Wilson and current Ulver”. All in all, It’s a really interesting album worth keeping in your archive. It is also a must to all progressive snobs.
And so we ask of Mohammad who wishes to make a new face for the Jordanian scene to not be late in recording and releasing the next album.