So, I Set Myself a Problem by A Great Cloud of Witnesses (Review)

This instrumental EP from Luxury’s Lee Bozeman contains one of the prettiest songs I’ve heard in awhile.
So, I Set Myself A Problem - A Great Cloud of Witnesses

In a recent tweet, Luxury clarified that while they’re working on a new album, “the process is different than we have done before, so is taking longer than anticipated.” To which I say, “Take your time, guys.” Great music should never be rushed. In the meantime, frontman Lee Bozeman (recording as A Great Cloud of Witnesses) has released a new instrumental EP titled So, I Set Myself a Problem.

Most of the EP’s seven songs are brooding electronic pieces that might bring to mind Kid A-era Radiohead, particularly “Frau Troffea” with its twitchy textures and pulsing rhythms (quite apropos, really, for a song named after the woman who kicked off the Dancing Plague of 1518) or “Freemartin”’s clattering beats and sweeping synths. And that’d be fine enough as it is.

However, what really catches my ear is the EP’s opening number, “Hopeful, Optimistic,” which is one of the prettier songs I’ve heard in awhile. Primarily a piano piece, it begins on a contemplative, even wistful note thanks to Bozeman’s graceful playing. But as the song unfolds, drones begin buzzing and flickering about its periphery, giving it a more mysterious air that occasionally verges on ominous without ever really undoing the song’s beauty.

The EP ends with its title song, another piano-based piece that weaves in some electronic flourishes. Between these two songs, So, I Set Myself a Problem makes me wonder if Bozeman shouldn’t just record an EP of minimal piano instrumentals — that’s how much I enjoy this particular side of his oeuvre. (So long as that doesn’t distract too much from the new Luxury album, of course.)

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