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CloZee embarks on a search for beauty in the mundane, emerges triumphant on gorgeous 6-track EP rendering, ‘Nouvelle Era’ [EP Review]

Anyone who adores French import CloZee knows she finds creative inspiration in her “travel feedback loop of adventure.” As the on-stage identity of Chloé Henry, CloZee’s sonic alias is fueled by Henry’s love of travel, with each tune in CloZee’s catalog reflecting on her experiences in nearly every corner of the earth. Constantly searching for beauty in the mundane and the every day, CloZee’s music is informed by the places she’s been, the people she’s met along the way, and the experiences she gained. But what happens when a once-in-a-century pandemic strikes, shoving the world into a quarantined lockdown and forcing CloZee to walk the road less traveled?

You go through the worst case of “writer’s block” in your entire life, according to CloZee.

Hailing originally from her native of Toulouse, CloZee had only recently uprooted into the States before COVID-19 made its way into the country. Right around the time that the global health pandemic shuttered the world, shutting down the live entertainment industry entirely, CloZee was on a swift upward career incline— one almost as steep as the rough mountain inclines where she would hike “14-ers” with her dog Hamilton in the trails surrounding Denver. The “Mile High” was the newest place Henry was calling home. At the time, she had just made another move to the country’s “bass music capital” where she found solace in the scenic Rocky Mountains range.

Simultaneously, CloZee was rolling out the release of her Neon Jungle LP, which landed in the summer of 2020, with plans of bringing the album on the road later in the year. The 10-track album, CloZee’s sophomore full-length, was the first official release from her newly-minted label, dubbed Odyzey Music. Only now is the album gearing up for its long-overdue Neon Jungle tour, for which she will depart for this fall.

So CloZee already had a full album bundle of music just begging to be played out live for thousands on any given night between October and December. Enough is never enough, however, for any ambitious overachiever. In addition to helming her very own indie imprint, CloZee apparently saw the need for more studio output for another EP which will surely experience some stage time as she makes her perpetual rounds all over the US soon. Add to the tribal bass queen’s tallied list of accomplishments during quarantine one more EP, titled Nouvelle Era.

Translating from its original French meaning, Nouvelle means “trendy” or “novel.”

However, one must wonder what has been so trendy about the past year-and-a-half, other than the novel Coronavirus? They would simply have to listen to the full six-track EP to find out, which may or may not have been intentional by design.

“We all went through some pretty difficult times,” CloZee says of our current day and age. “We still do.”

Photo credit: Alden Bonecutter.

After releasing a single track off the project with “Falling In Love,” which she only recently debuted during her specially-curated VOYAGE! event, CloZee’s newest musical output attempts to encapsulate the feelings of lockdown. Yet, CloZee admits it wasn’t always easy for her to translate the last year-and-a-half into something sonically cohesive.

Calling it her “most therapeutic project” to date, CloZee found it hard to put her creative process on the project into words. In fact, CloZee told fans rather point blankly that she’d experienced her longest ever bout with writer’s block during this time. Despite any creative barriers CloZee may have run up against, she certainly didn’t face those struggles in vain.

Why? For one, because Nouvelle Era still gorgeously delivers. For two, the project shows zero signs of CloZee’s self-described “writer’s block.” Quite the opposite, actually.

From start to finish, Nouvelle Era is a musical rendezvous front to back. A gorgeously rendered EP from its initial launching pad in “Jellyfish,” this energetic kickoff track builds climatically towards CloZee’s signature cinematical backdrops, immersive overtones, verbose kettledrums. Strewn across this sonic canvas are flute-led melodies, flutter tongue harmonics, and whistle tones, all working in tandem to draw the listener in.

Next up in the EP comes “Hold On” with MOONZz on vocal duties, who has worked with everyone in electronic music from Daktyl, DMNO, and pluko to Eko Zu, SLUMBERJACK, and MELVV. MOONZz soft, feminine tones and nostalgic lyrics float over a bedrock of CloZee’s richly-layered textures, skittering synths, and commanding beats.

The EP’s center point is where the real lifeblood of Nouvelle Era lays. Mustering up all the live anthemic qualities that make this one a live CloZee “shoestring” track this one will surely be implemented as the thread track throughout her live performances to tie her entire set together. As the title track to the EP, “Nouvelle Era” acts as the living heartbeat of the project, pumping out aortic energy into the other tracks, and coursing across every vein in the EP.

From this mid-point, the album begins soften as CloZee begins her “Farewell” in the fourth track on the EP. The track begins with the classical piano, creating a beautiful melody that becomes taken over by the acoustic strings. Around the middle of the song, “Farewell” calls up its calming vibrational energy from Asian culture as it borrows on oriental musical tradition and technique. Here, the geisha shows her true face in the song’s oriental string-led choruses, and its bamboo flute measures, as the two go back-and-forth in dance atop CloZee’s tribal wind tones and signature breakbeat percussion.

From the violin solos, synth riffing, and glitchy production of “Brave” to the soothing vocal chants in “Falling in Love,” the EP closes like it began: powerful, cinematic, vulnerable. For all it’s supposed roadblocks, Nouvelle Era feels effortless and absolutely authentic in the end. If this album is CloZee having a hard time with “writer’s block,” then the world may just need more “difficult times” ahead.

As CloZee does well to remind us, the world has been through enough. Yet, as everyone begins to emerge from the ashes and embraces the “new normal,” CloZee so too emerges from her creative chrysalis into a beautiful butterfly, a better songwriter, a more colorful composer, and a stronger all-around human.

Tickets to CloZee’s Neon Jungle tour, which kicks off October 13, can be found on CloZee’s website. The tour will see support from MersivWreckno, Of The Trees, and Tripp St. in select cities. Stream her Nouvelle Era EP on various streaming platforms below.

CloZee – Nouvelle Era EP

About CloZee

Hailing originally from her native of Toulouse, French import CloZee is the sonic identity of Chloé Herry. Her alias was informed by Herry’s love for travel and adventure, with each tune in CloZee’s catalog becoming a sonic puzzle piece reflecting of her experiences in every corner of the globe.

Launching her musical project in 2012, CloZee has now been touring all over the globe. During her time spent studying the soundboard as a Sound Engineering major, CloZee discovered how to seamlessly mix and master and her worldly sounds in FL Studio, which she turns to when designing her eclectic eastern-influences sound. She was eventually able to leave in pursuit of music full time, but her obsession for making music bagan much earlier than university. Driven by her babysitter, she was just 11 years old when she first picked up an acoustic guitar and started playing.

Often touted as the “French Goddess of Glitch” or “Tribal Bass Queen,” the new Colorado transplant is considered the global electronic music scene’s newest and brightest shining star. CloZee’s musical identity has led her to tour around the world alongside artists such as Gramatik, Bonobo, Big Gigantic, Tipper, GRiZ, Shpongle, and Scarfinger (under a joint side-project they call CloZinger).

Oregon Eclipse was considered a breakout moment for CloZee when she hit the crowd with her signature world sound, which incorporates a seamless blend of glitch, trip hop, folk, downtempo, left-field, and tribal bass. The year was 2017, a time when CloZee was rising swiftly in the ranks of bass music, and she has looked back since.

The release of her 2018 debut album, Evasion, was a true marker for CloZee’s success. Released on the Austin-based tribal imprint, Gravitas Recordings, the album was a culmination of CloZee’s travels to India, Israel, Ukraine, Costa Rica, and North America.

On stage, CloZee is sometimes accompanied by her acoustic guitar as she subtly mixes in cinematic melodies and powerful basslines with world music instruments, organic field recordings, and tribal rhythms. It’s a sonic thumbprint that has earned her performances among the world’s top music festivals, including Coachella, Lightning in a Bottle, Shambhala, Electric Forest, Bonnaroo, Buku, and Envision Costa Rica, where she is a resident headliner every year. Some critics have even speculated that her most recent LP, 2020’s Neon Jungle is a nod to her love of being at the festival.

Drawing on inspirations as diverse as Bonobo, The Glitch Mob’s edIT, Amon Tobin, Paco De Lucia, and Hans Zimmer, CloZee’s mission is to experience the world on her tours and take inspiration from the everyday – a painting, the weather, a dream, an encounter, a dancer. Her favorite sources are real, organic, and anything mundane. Recently laying down roots in Denver during a move during the pandemic, Herry now calls the States home, although her love of adventure and travel make CloZee a child of the universe.

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