Ciel and Dan Only Push Toronto's Electronic Scene to 'The Limit' on Debut Cloudsteppers EP
Published Jun 10, 2021You haven't heard of Cloudsteppers because this is their first release, but the individual members might ring a bell. Dan Only (a.k.a. Danny Voicu) has had a tidy selection of melodic, house-y bangers released over the past few years on New Kanada and Dirt Crew Recordings. The other half, Ciel (a.k.a. Cindy Li) has, similarly, been racking up a slew of EPs on various labels in recent times. She also runs Work in Progress and is a key member of It's Not U It's Me, both of which have been responsible for booking some major acts for Toronto's partygoers. Needless to say, this is a joint effort between two of the city's pivotal producers, so no doubt many are curious to hear what this collaboration sounds like.
As they should be; The Limit is a superb all-rounder that runs the gamut of house, techno, breakbeat and more. All it really takes is the first skittering smacks of the title track to draw you right into the centre of this EP, and once you're there, you'll happily stay put for the duration. "The Limit" is a mean jungle track — there's no other way to say it. It has a sample of Brian Cox during the breakdown, and hearing his intellectual musings amongst some quick-fire percussion works so well that it seems ridiculous no one has matched the Mancunian physicist with jungle in the past. The drum programming is simply top notch, and it continues that way for the entire EP. This is a percussion-heavy record.
After hearing the opener, you might think it's hard to top, but "Diva Loops" is a serious contender. The kick drum makes an aggressive b-line for the primordial parts of your brain, sending "move yo body" signals to the limbs in very short order. This is then propped up by deliciously wonky bass, before some spacey squiggles (à la Luke Vibert) enter the fray about halfway through.
If The Limit is the result of a few impromptu jam sessions over the last couple of years, then we're very excited to hear what these two can come up with in the future. Now you've heard of Cloudsteppers. Take note. (X-Kalay)