Half-Handed Cloud – Stowaways

January 01, 1970


(Asthmatic Kitty)




Nestled comfortably between the grand ambitions of Brian
Wilson’s Smile, the cinematic
offerings of Sufjan Stevens and the weird and wacky outpour of Frank Zappa,
Half-Handed Cloud stakes its own quirky claim. The brainchild of the
ever-prolific John Ringhofer, this fifth album under his unlikely guise follows
a formula established early on, one that finds snippets of songs strung
together herky-jerky via odd meters and sudden shifts.


Clearly, Ringhofer and company delight in keeping their
listeners guessing, and, oftentimes, bewildered as well, employing an
instrumental arsenal that includes trumpets, trombones, clarinet, violins,
cello, glockenspiel, whistles, loops and all manner of impromptu, off-kilter
home-grown effects. Yet by layering in choir-like harmonies and conjuring a
generally amiable tug, Ringhofer also creates a pop pastiche that’s captivating
as well as confounding. Squeezing 25 songs into a single CD is no small feat, but
given Half-Handed Cloud’s irrepressible blend of wit and whimsy, his sprawling
epics seemingly know no bounds.


DOWNLOAD: “You Flagged
Us Down With a Wave,” “Source of the Watercourse” LEE ZIMMERMAN


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