Title: sun moon stars
Artist: James Hoehl
Release Date: 2014 Aug 02
Genre: Ambient
License: CC BY-NC-ND


[Ed. Note: James Hoehl is the person behind Red Clouds. His BandCamp now lists his release as being under the artist name “James Hoehl”, but everything else appears to still reference Red Clouds…  So, I’m leaving the name Red Clouds in this review, but listing the artist above as James Hoehl.]

The Red Clouds cover sun, moon and stars throwing the world into a pitch dark abyss. Faint glimmers of light, and noises drone around us revealing the only texture we know of the planet we once inhabited in the full illumination of the sun.  This is how I find the work of Red Clouds to affect my sense of perception.

Red Clouds: sun moon stars

Red Clouds is from Radnor Township, Pennsylvania.  He describes his musical interests as: time travel, alien stranded on earth, and dark soundscapes.  This release consists of three long, abstract noise-based soundscapes.

Each of these pieces is designed to be a sonic inducement for visualization.  That is, when you listen to ‘moon’ you should be able to see the moon.  If you listen closely to the fluctuations in the sounds as the cycle and pulse, you will hear a dynamic of their inter-relationship which might suggest various features of the moon: the craters, the cliffs, the sand, etc.

This is the type of work that is likely to be used for meditation,  They provide a simple background that allows your mind to focus, and shut off all the other thoughts, and interruptions of other stimulus around you.  This can be heightened through the use of headphones and turning off the lights.  This kind of work can also be used in a work environment to focus ones attention on tasks, using the sound as a sensory deprivation method.

I have a hard time with works like this.  They are fascinating to listen to.  I have put this on a few times before going to bed in the evening as a way to allow myself to relax, and try to get my brain to focus on the sounds instead of the other thoughts that tend to overwhelm me when I try to sleep.  It seemed to work well, I can’t think of a one time where I was awake for the work.  I’ve also listened to them while working on other projects, like writing this review, and found that I can focus on them while keeping my mind on the task at hand.


What can I say beyond that?  There is a lot of subtly in the drones and noises chosen for each track.  While they may be designed to be background sounds, there is a lot of detail in the overall work.  This makes it possible to listen to these pieces and discover things within them (like the way ‘stars’ makes you feel like you are moving through a star field, some of the objects get closer and then fade away, while others remain constant).

Overall, this the kind of work that I keep around for the reasons I’ve outlined above.  There are certain uses that they are good for, and while I may treat them as background sounds most of the time, I am never disappointed when paying closer attention to the details.

James Hoehl: sun moon stars




Posted by George De Bruin


  1. I’m honored that the madness that lurks within got into the top 50 reviews.

  2. most kind of you and quite excellent. thank you

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