Half-handed Cloud has Foiled us again with another marvelous self-released EP.
In this second collection of scrapped and reused recordings combined with fresh melodies and demos, John Ringhofer focuses even more on the writings of Paul. In classic Half-handed Cloud fashion, Ringhofer restructures Scripture to childlike melodies and sets them to dense, odd arrangements. Foiled EP No. 2 maintains parallelism with certain effects and motifs set by its predecessor while spending more time exploring different strange backing sounds. It feels like more time is spent in these sequences than the lyrics, so No. 2 doesn’t feel quite as balanced as No. 1. However, this doesn’t detract too heavily from the EP or the Foiled experience.
This continuity is where the trick of the EP lies; it is here where John Ringhofer foils us. Nestled in the weirdness and childlikeness of Foiled EP No. 2 is a subversive intentionality. This isn’t just some dude recording a bunch of noise and running it through a tape machine. There is thoughtfulness in the composition and mastery in the synchronicity of the EP and of the two releases together when heard back-to-back; and the Scriptures in this EP are carefully selected so they don’t seem awkward in a song environment.
The highlight of the EP is easily “Running Off With Balderdash,” which translates a passage from Romans 8 into idiosyncratic phrasing and summarizes a few verses by saying “the flesh runs off with balderdash.” It’s brilliantly efficient language, and this language and melody convey a sense of whimsicality before transitioning into sounds of waves lapping at a shore with violin playing in the background. And this all happens in less than 80 seconds. It’s a golden moment in an already golden EP.
In Foiled EP No. 2 John Ringhofer demonstrates that, with the right amount of love and care, even a self-proclaimed “sound collage” can hold its own against more polished contemporaries. It’s a dazzling experience that lends itself to be repeated, shared, and cherished.
Check out Half-handed Cloud at the following links.