Cleared is the duo of Steven Hess and Michael Vallera, both veterans of the Chicago experimental underground. With their new album Drown, Cleared integrate elements of minimalism and sound design with the textures and spirit of early dream pop. Recorded and produced in Chicago, Drown weaves seamlessly between works of classic ambience and narcotic experimental rock. The band find themselves at the crux of both the light and dark components of their past material. The result is a truly lush and enveloping experience that is the sum of the band’s evolving style and approach to composition.
Drown is the band’s third full-length recording and the final installment of a trilogy that was conceived upon their formation in 2009. Hess and Vallera have spent the last several years building upon the stark and wintery environment of their first self-titled LP, transforming the tracks through live performance and constant revision. Their second offering, Breaking Day, saw the duo expand beyond the relentless drones and clouded rhythms of the previous record, elevating the role of traditional guitar and percussion while leaning toward a darkly psychedelic and visceral sound.
While Cleared have always favored patient growth and repeated themes, those core elements are now adorned with intense melodic composition and spontaneous bursts of electronic collage. Their most expansive and organic release to date, Cleared are proud to offer Drown as the apex of a five-year exploration of image, space, and sound.
Steven Hess is a Chicago based musician who also performs in Locrian (Relapse Records), Pan-American (Kranky), Innode (Editions Mego), and Haptic (Entr’acte).
Michael Vallera is a musician and visual artist who performs as COIN (Opal Tapes), and with Joseph Clayton Mills as Maar (Entr’acte, Umor Rex). He has also released material under his own name with Los Discos Enfantasmes, Catholic Tapes, and will be contributing to the Imaginational Anthem compilation this summer on Tompkins Square.