In late November of 2013, for the second year in a row, I found myself staggering to the end of a six-month battle with the same massive document. As had long become habit, largely to preserve some tenuous connection with life outside the confines of the virtual pages that were my waking reality, I spent much of my writing time listening to several custom stations on Pandora. While I enjoyed the great majority of the songs that played, most of them came and went without intruding on consciousness.
From time to time, however, a particular song would grate on me until I silenced it, and on even rarer occasions a song would seize and hold my attention. Among that small number of mesmerizing songs, before and since, none stands apart like Black Cloud by Laurel Sprengelmeyer, who goes by the stage name Little Scream. In the moment, sixteen months ago, it was arresting in its beauty and ability to transport, and I still feel that way today.
While looking up information on the artist back then I searched for a video but could only find uploads by others, and I didn’t want to link to something that wasn’t officially released. I did find additional songs and performances by Little Scream, but Black Cloud was not among them. Recently, however, I found this:
I listen to a lot of music and I know what I like. Give me the choice between a beat and a groove and I go groove every time. But there’s another thing music can do, and that’s take you on a trip, and that’s what happens each time I listen to Black Cloud. I’m not sure what the musical word for that would be, but my word would be storytelling.
If Black Cloud takes you somewhere, and you like the trip, tell someone when you get back. Musicians in particular have always had a tough time making a living doing what they love, and I don’t think anyone will ever solve that problem. One problem the internet can solve, however, is making sure musicians and other artists who touch us know that their voices matter and are being heard.
— Mark Barrett