One of the beautiful things about music in this day and age is the ease of release. Pretty much anyone can get their music into the open even if their gear somewhat limits their recording ability. Here are three recent home-recorded, self released titles that you need to hear. These releases embrace their limitations and are marvelous experiences even in their distortion, buzz, and echo.
Foiled EP No 1 by Half-handed Cloud
As the title suggests, Foiled EP No 1 is the first volume in a series of two self-released EP’s comprised of unused recordings from a 10+ year period. This EP plays like a single 11-minute track of ten parts and two movements. John Ringhofer serves as the first half’s speaker, while the latter half takes its voice from the Pauline Epistles, though the syntax is peppered with Ringhofer’s distinct quirkiness (I’m pretty sure Paul never used the phrase “the core of your belly button”). The lyrics cover tender worship (“Let the Mind in You”), Scriptural instruction (“Train Yourselves in Godliness”), and apostolic autobiography (“The Road I Took for Granite”). These tracks aren’t as tightly packed as HhC’s studio albums, but the more relaxed nature makes the listen a little easier for a new fan. The textures are engaging, with some distortion and squeals punctuating unique sound features. For example, the 45-second interlude “Tapes” consists mainly of organ, synthesizer, and cassette noises. For such a broad base, this EP is masterfully integrated and composed as a whole work. The closer “Grace Be With You” gives the release closure, but leaves a sense of anticipation for a sequel – which is scheduled to drop by or around the end of the year. Foiled EP No 1 shows that, even in his self-labelled “scrappy” moments, Half-handed Cloud is a sort of musical miracle worker. You can read our interview with John here.
The In Clover [demos] by Fiery Crash
Why didn’t I listen to these earlier?! Fiery Crash is a friend of the blog, but I guess I just thought that they wouldn’t have much substance. However, The In Clover [demos] is an experience of its own. It certainly has a level of poor audio quality, but it somehow works to the advantage of the release. The low-lo-fi aesthetic is almost magical, and Josh Jackson’s talent shines through the applied-in-post hiss and garble. Think of the release less as a collection of demos and more as a mini-album of stripped down alternate versions. For whatever reason, these tracks remind me of being a young child watching Disney’s Robin Hood on VHS with the Roger Miller songs playing from our tube TV speakers. The In Clover [demos] is a very nostalgic, very pleasant, and very warm listen. If you like music on cassette and/or the style of 60’s-70’s singer-songwriters, this is for you. Like the album, The In Clover [demos] is available as a free download on Bandcamp. You can read our review of In Clover here. You can read our interview with fiery Josh here.
“EHLD” by E. Δndrei
“EHLD” is the first solo track from former FILMLOOM front-man Eric Tempelaere in his new project E. Δndrei. This track was recorded in Eric’s parents’ home on the Tempelaere family piano and quietly released on Soundcloud last Sunday. The textures are sparser than his FILMLOOM releases, but there are deep lyrical and musical nuances at work here. During the track, ambient sounds from Eric’s parents and their house creep into the mix – a curious but meaningful technique that accentuates the themes driving the song. The lyrics speak to growing up and beyond the influence of parents while still acknowledging their lasting impact. It’s a deep and moody track that taps into intellectual and ethereal soundscapes. This first single certainly bodes well for Eric’s solo career. You can read our review of FILMLOOM’s Perennial here.