Half-handed Cloud – Cut Me Down & Count My Rings

January 01, 1970

(Asthmatic Kitty)



Being bizarre isn’t necessarily a bad thing,
but it can produce quite a jolt. Take, for example, the one-man amalgam known
as Half-handed Cloud. The brainchild of an obvious overachiever named John Ringhofer,
it specializes in quirky, odd and experimental sound vignettes that sprint
skittishly from one interlude to another with a giddy enthusiasm.  Yet while these “songs” boast a kind of
kitchen clutter ambiance, the music isn’t nearly as haphazard as it initially
appears, coalescing instead into a string of mini-symphonies spun by Ringhofer on
more than two dozen instruments, ranging from the usual (piano, acoustic guitar,
bass, drums) to the unlikely (glockenspiel, euphonium, melodeon, omnichord


The latest example of this ragtag cacophony
can be witnessed on Cut Me Down &
Count My Rings
, a thorough compilation of Half-handed Cloud’s non-LP and
EP-specific contributions. With 46 tracks spread over a single disc,
Ringhofer’s freewheeling desires and edgier instincts are allowed to run
rampant, even as the clatter and the chatter threaten to overflow its musical
banks.  Yet if Ringholfer’s abbreviated
pop tunes often seem kaleidoscopic, they’re hardly trivial.  Like Sufjan Stevens and the Danielson Famile,
two of Ringhofer’s ongoing associates – as well as Brian Wilson, an acknowledged
master of the craft — Half-handed Cloud makes no secret of its ambitions. As
is his habit, the combination of economical song-craft and abundant ideas turns
this collection of disparate offerings into nothing less than pure sprawling


“It’s Better to
Follow the Shepherd,” “Good-Good Heart,” ” Couple Kings Close the Road on a
Giant Parts 2-4″ LEE ZIMMERMAN




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