Half-handed Cloud delights with retro synthesizer explorations and lyrics focused on the Holy Spirit in his latest EP, Jiminy Circuits.
In the final days of 2016, John Ringhofer surprised us with a new EP on Plastiq Musiq — an independent record label focused on experimental analog electronic music. Utilizing the Roland SH-09, Ringhofer treats the listener with eight interweaving tracks which gleefully explore various textures and programmings. From the rousing and frantic “Song for Different Eternities” to the wistful and earnest “Backwards Through the Grate,” the songs cover a wide range in just a ten-minute, eight-track course.
The lyrics flip popular and Scriptural turns of phrase on their heads in depiction of ecstatic, intimate, and supernatural experiences with the Holy Spirit. Comparisons run in tone from surrealist science fiction to electrical and technological, while also using more expected spiritual imagery.
My only criticism with Jiminy Circuits is the structuring of the tracklist seems perhaps too familiar. While the tracks themselves are wildly unique, the unit as a whole has a flow very similar to several other Half-handed Cloud releases. That being said, this criticism is a nitpick that loses personal relevance the more I listen to the EP and appreciate new moments every time.
Also on the note of structure: over his last three releases, Half-handed Cloud has shown the EP format to be a much better fit for his style. By cutting the runtime, he allows each song to receive its fair share of attention. Half-handed Cloud’s full-length records are certainly delightful, but their generous tracklists allow even some real gems to slip through the cracks. On this release, each song holds significance, even the instrumental interlude “Fingerplay on the Ribbon Waves.”
Jiminy Circuits is a fun, provocative, and charming spin on early electronica and the mystery of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling and baptism. It is some of Half-handed Cloud’s most compelling instrumental work yet, and a wonderfully unique lyrical expression of Pentecostal theology.
Buy the EP on limited 7″ vinyl here. Watch the video for “Antennas Extend” below.