Cobalt Road
Venetian Blinds EP






Not waving but drowning is the credo of Florida-based Cobalt Road whose ameliorated road dust reciprocates between jam-packed memorabilia and the opposite effect in the shape of a pluvial cleansing ritual. Enter his Venetian Blinds EP, a transfiguring epicurean digital-only five-track EP released on DMT Tapes and available to fetch and fully stream at Bandcamp as usual. The front artwork doesn’t do the EP justice: while it addresses the color range of the famous byproduct from nickel and copper, two particular alloys are the actual stars on each of the five tracks, thereby making the listening experience a conclusive joy. Firstly, there’s the omnipresence of synths, guitars and scintillating hi-hats, all of which enable a great 80’s atmosphere… but so do many other Vaporwave albums by nature. Therefore, Cobalt Road injects a second twist, namely a wondrously mucoid reticulation of aquatic-acroamatic accentuations. The track titles may not address this state all the time, nor does the title of the EP itself, but Venetian Blinds is supercharged with incandescent waters, celestial reverbs, hypnotic concoctions and sublime melodies, addressing the needs of both Ambient and Vaporwave fans. Here is a meticulous look at its five runlets and their heterodyned overlay of revitalizing energy and moments of reflectiveness.


From your archetypally orthochromatic world into the cyanophore microplasm of Scattered Showers which launches in medias res, with all of its superconductive synth layers firmly in place. Filtered through the pectin-covered granuloma of an AM radio, the pristine spikiness of Cobalt Road’s gateway ultimately leads to benthic humidity: cavernous claves, processed apocryphal panpipes and laid-back guitar licks rotoscope between the mystic aura of New Age and the insouciant sustenance of Funk. Once the fluid-processed pulsatile Jungle patterns and Breakbeat blebs enter the apocrine bathroom, the EP’s morphogenesis is firmly in place, enchanting with turquoise hues and lilting accretions. Up next: Suite Apartment, a Synth Pop stomper made of baroclinic cowbell coruscants, the salubrious dark hue of Italo pianos and wobbly mid-freq bass circulations. This would have been a comparatively contemplative piece, maybe even one where the thinker is at odds with his current situation… were it not for the midtempo physiognomy, scattered hi-hat bursts and plinking chime melody that make a volatile ditty of a potentially ogival locale.


Meanwhile, the perniciously titled Insomnia harkens back at the primary problem of living in the big city: so much to do, so little time, a comforting mattress but no sleep in sight. In lieu of a pitch-black ergosphere, however, Cobalt Road succumbs another time to the glistening moisture that percolates through the EP, making an alkaloidal driblet tryst out of a tristesse. Droning bass rivulets, calcareous vesicles, the whitewashed purity of elasticized cymbals and the guitar lariats altogether evoke an evocative estuary, perennial and secure. The state of wishful drowsiness is afterwards completely annihilated by the uplifting perianth that is the title-giving Venetian Blinds. Contrasting its Angkor Wat circumambience with public service announcement of devoted fans, sax-driven orthogonality and glucan-spawning synth sinews whose chemotaxis emits fluvio-lacustrine macronutrients, this very track is not necessarily the standout corker due to its shared sentiment and set of patterns and textures, but nonetheless an enchanting cannelure of aquatic catenae. The finale comes in the shape and hue of Turquoise, a bubbly Breakbeat vestibule whose sawtooth ventiducts scythe through the guitar/piano diffeomorphism and tone down the former euphoria via an efflorescent wistfulness. The lively percussion seems sadly de trop, creating the alienating feeling of a parallax chirality while still fitting the stylistic endemics otherwise.


The Venetian Blinds EP is both a stringent and contiguous location, a cotyledon that prospers into a rhizomatic orchid before it withers and fades into the distance. Too poetic a cornball? I have to admit that this here description doesn’t pinpoint the EP's traits, but it describes – in an admittedly peculiar way – the intrinsic progress of Cobalt Road’s pentatome. This is all the more astonishing considering the coherence that floats throughout the digital release: the surfaces are indeed hued in cobalt/gunmetal complexions. Both colors are known for their pristine immaculateness, but they also evoke admonitory nostalgia and matutinal remembrance, so some chords in b minor have trickles into the spheroidal vapor as somnolent – possibly petrifying – adjuvants. These thoughts notwithstanding, Venetian Blinds enthralls with that prismatic 80’s echopraxia brought into the game via guitars, synths and simmering basslines. That’s the primary ingredients of many a genre work, true enough, so Cobalt Road adds an interesting cross-linkage to the color range, and that’s the perceived atmospheric humidity: the liquid braiding of fermions and ligneous bubbles reminds of Vaperror’s Mana Pool (Dream Catalogue, 2014), and is equally keen of branching out into different beat patterns. Cobalt Road’s beguiling helix is a great addition to those who admire oneiric undulation, hermetical cascades and dielectric cataracts. I know what I have to do: this is one artist to watch.


Further listening:


Vaporwave Review 081: Cobalt Road – Venetian Blinds EP (2015). Originally published on May 23, 2015 at