BY JONATHAN LEVITT
Cloud Seeder—consisting of Acme Rocket Quartet members Roger Kunkel (one of the founding members of Thin White Rope), Steve Edberg, and Dave Thompson—raised the funds via Kickstarter earlier this year to release this two CD album heavily inspired both by the German band CAN and The Swell Maps. As the liner notes states, it’s a group of spontaneous recordings with zero overdubs, which makes it even more stunning that something so coherent and yet out there could be recorded in one go.
This is an album perfect for a Sunday lay-about where you let the music wash over you. On the jazzy “Reul Vallis Blues,” with its Spanish laced nocturnal guitar, what permeated my mind was the lyric “I just kissed a girl named Maria” from West Side Story—funny what comes trickling through the ether. “Pleasure Planet” is a very evocative number that sounds like a prelude to a séance or ritual bloodletting; the exquisite guitar playing and hypnotic drumming churn together with a sinister sonic undercurrent to create a compelling and disquieting tune. “Cesium Surfer,” with its noir surfer guitar and tight rhythm section, is the perfect soundtrack to something ominous and criminal. It’s Bob Bogle meets Black Sun Ensemble. CD 2 takes a turn for the more hallucinatory side of things. Longer, more experimental numbers dominate, like the edgy “Oh Dear Edgar” with its electronic blips and battlefield snare drum, which then give way to some really laid-back psychedelic guitar; it’s an amazing track and the gem on the second half of the album.
On this album, while the guitar may be the first thing we notice, one must also give equal attention to the layered sonics, the deft bass and drum playing, as well as some key sound samples that are interspersed across several of the tracks. There is so much to dig into on this record, whether you are a Krautrock fan or just a fan of really well-crafted complex tunes that challenge you in unique ways. I think it’s criminal that bands like this, operating at such a high level of musicianship, seem to get short shrift from the music-buying public. Hopefully one day this will change, but until it does, do what you can to support these guys as this album is definitely a keeper.
DOWNLOAD: “Fed by Gravity,” “Reul Vallis Blues,” “Pleasure Planet,” “Cesium Surfer,” “Oh Dear Edgar”