Nick Corbo of LVL UP Announces Debut Heaven’s Just a Cloud out 22nd October via Danger Collective Records
For the past few years multi-instrumentalist and illustrator Nick Corbo (formerly of LVL UP) began working on a new body of music and visual art as Spirit Was. On his debut studio album, Heaven’s Just a Cloud, Corbo explores heavy, distorted instrumentation and experimental techniques. His ability to focus on small details and weave them into vast networks is apparent in all of the music and artwork throughout his catalogue and especially now on Heaven’s Just A Cloud. In its density, the album is threaded with memorable lyrics and recapitulating musical themes that guide the listener.
It’s haunting, beautiful scenes of the natural world feel just as represented in the warm, classic, wooden floors of country rock as they do in the dark, droning, shadows of doom and black metal.
The album’s dichotomy is masterfully sewn on album opener and lead single, ‘I Saw the Wheel’, which was written as a two part song and features Crying’s Z Santos on vocals and Rashaad Jones on cello. Corbo explains, “It’s about waking up in the back of the van on the highway in the middle of the country with nothing out there on either side and coming to the realization your band is gonna break up soon. Also, the bizarre sensation of finally seeing a shape in perspective while making a drawing.”
“I Saw the Wheel” smashes into the centre of its fierce ambience. A slow burner but built of vast detail. This landscape created is expressive and of such substance. Deep baritone notes, vocal harmonies and a mighty range of power burning throughout the atmosphere and ready to explode at any given moment. The new release is unpredictable, colossal riffs cascade over the obscure aura, welcoming this transition of silence to plod across the release before the gargantuan build-up, screamo tones and chaos then dramatically consumes the audience. Mesmerizing and mighty, this release will hook you.
The striking accompanying video was inspired by the work of photographer Gregory Crewdson. Filmed in Corbo’s hometown of Torrington, CT, the footage features a collection of locations he remembers vividly from his childhood. He reveals: “Our aim was to capture the uncomfortable serenity of some of those places and, over the course of the song, develop them into very intentional, choreographed, and other-worldly scenes.”
Pre-order Heaven’s Just a Cloud: https://dangercollectiverecords.limitedrun.com/products/698068
When his primary music project, LVL UP, stopped working together in 2018, prolific
multi-instrumentalist and illustrator Nick Corbo began working on a new body of music and visual art as Spirit Was. On his debut studio album Heaven’s Just a Cloud, haunting, beautiful scenes of the natural world feel just as represented in the warm, classic, wooden floors of country rock as they do in the dark, droning, shadows of doom and black metal.
With new creative liberties, Corbo is allowed an opportunity to keep exploring the heavy, distorted instrumentation and experimental techniques that have shaped his music to date. His ability to focus on small details and weave them into vast networks has been evident in all of the music and visual art in his catalogue. In its density, Heaven’s Just A Cloud is threaded with memorable lyrics and recapitulating musical themes that guide the listener. Spirit Was feels at home among the technical, melodic songwriting of Harry Nilsson’s studio recordings, or the dusty, psychedelic oblivion of Earth and Wolves in the Throne Room. A departure from his previously collaborative recordings, the album features Corbo on drums, bass, guitar, and keyboards, weaving sweet, intentional melodies and vocal harmonies over a slamming, distorted rhythm section.
After receiving a recommendation from his former bandmate and Trace Mountains singer/songwriter Dave Benton, Corbo called on engineer Matt Labozza to record Heaven’s Just A Cloud. Principal tracking for the record began at Studio G in Brooklyn where Nick performed drums for the album, accompanied by talented cellist, Rashaad Jones on a majority of the tracks. Corbo and Laboza then finished the recordings in a makeshift studio above Division St Guitars in Peekskill, NY. As the recording began taking shape, Corbo reached out to longtime collaborator and Crying singer, Z Santos, to record additional vocals for a bulk of the album remotely from their home in Olympia, WA. Keyboardist and Saxophonist Griffin Koelbel was also called on to add beautiful dark synthesizers to some additional studio material for the album, which was finally completed with mastering from Edsel Holden in Nashville, TN.
Outside of Spirit Was, Corbo is a professional producer, musician, and visual artist who, over the past 10 years, has produced a catalogue of studio albums, an extensive collection of hand-made and individually illustrated distortion pedals, and a large portfolio of intricate visual art, including the pen and ink drawings that adorn this album’s artwork. Corbo has a decade of experience writing and performing in bands in New York City, primarily notable groups LVL UP and Crying. Between the two groups he released 5 studio albums working alongside exciting record labels like Double Double Whammy in New York and Sub Pop Records in Seattle; and toured extensively in the US, UK, and Europe, performing at festivals like SXSW, and Primavera Sound in Barcelona.
Overall Corbo wrote a third of the songs for LVL UP, including the daydreamy “Spirit Was” that would later inspire the name for his next project. With Spirit Was, Corbo continues a tradition of self referencial compositions; fans of his previous work in LVL UP will recognize recurring themes that have appeared throughout the band’s discography. Heaven’s Just a Cloud is out October 22nd, 2021 via Danger Collective Records.
I Saw the Wheel/Oblivion Banter
Stranger To The One
Here Comes My Man
Heavens Just A Cloud
Come Back To The House
Caught In A Dream