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Gathered Out Of Thin Air

by Half-handed Cloud

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  • Streaming + Download

    Pre-order of Gathered Out Of Thin Air. You get 9 tracks now (streaming via the free Bandcamp app and also available as a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more), plus the complete album the moment it’s released.
    Purchasable with gift card
    releases November 15, 2019

      $10 USD  or more

     

  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    Pre-orders includes coin envelope with four limited edition Half-handed Cloud bookmarks!

    Includes digital pre-order of Gathered Out Of Thin Air. You get 9 tracks now (streaming via the free Bandcamp app and also available as a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more), plus the complete album the moment it’s released.
    shipping out on or around November 15, 2019
    Purchasable with gift card

      $26 USD or more 

     

1.
What Are You? Surprise Us!
2.
Nests in Chests
3.
4.
Slip Through The Cracks
5.
Gentle Instrumental
6.
Turntable Turntable
7.
Bathed in Palms
8.
Gentle Perception
9.
10.
The Conscience of Cortés
11.
Foiled by Captain Landecho
12.
Francis Drake Dreaming
13.
00:34
14.
Roald Read The Passage
15.
He Woke Me Up Again
16.
01:56
17.
Needy Ones Hold Out
18.
Intro
19.
Mystery of Godliness
20.
Tapes
21.
Let The Mind in You
22.
Someone Pops Up
23.
24.
Reminding
25.
Anything
26.
The Road I Took For Granite
27.
Grace Be With You
28.
Waltz
29.
Deity Dwelling Bodily
30.
For Our Sake
31.
Reconciliation Grows Today
32.
Your Outer Nature Wastes Away
33.
All The Fullness Of God Pleased To Dwell
34.
35.
Frankly Corinthians
36.
Let's Hum This Song Right Now
37.
What Large Letters
38.
We Wear The Path
39.
Sleeves Of The Forest
40.
Branches Crowned Your Brow
41.
42.
Doing Battle With The Edge
43.
Viscous Shadow of Cleopas
44.
Tracing Circuits That You Tread
45.
Gathered Out of Thin Air
46.
Song For Different Eternities
47.
I Heard The Sparks
48.
We're Giving It A Chance
49.
Backwards Through The Grate
50.
Fingerplay On The Ribbon Waves
51.
Antennas Extend
52.
53.
A Favorite Christmas Gag Gift
54.
Öh, It's Christmastime Again!
55.
The Cloud Became a Baby To Be With Us
56.
Nativity Play Time Travel Tunnel
57.
It's Advent! Let's Open The Calendar!
58.
And Suddenly [from Handel's Messiah]
59.
60.
All They That See Him Laugh [from Handel's Messiah]

about

"Gathered Out Of Thin Air" is a new Half-handed Cloud (John Ringhofer) double LP compilation of sixty freshly mastered, non-LP singles, EPs, and rarities, recorded throughout the band’s second decade (2010-2019) in many different places, including Berkeley, California; Brussels, Belgium; Pretoria, South Africa; and Helsinki, Finland.

The "Gathered Out Of Thin Air" title is kind of half true.

"Gathered?" Absolutely. These songs come from all over the world, in multiple formats, and have been compiled from an array of seventeen different releases. Some of the sixty songs have thus far only seen digital release (such as 2015’s twin home-taped sound collage pop releases "Foiled EP N°1" & "Foiled EP N°2"), while others were released only on vinyl (2011’s "DOVE" EP [which now features a new mix], and 2012’s "Blood Brothers" EP). One 7-inch EP collected here consists entirely of analog synthesizer song experiments (2016’s "Jiminy Circuits"), and a significant batch of hard-to-find loose tracks were originally released on various compilations—digital, compact disc, given out with a festival ticket, or along with a CD-R zine compilation.

Sections of this material have never seen the light of day at all, ever, until now, including a 7-track unreleased EP, and “Naaman,” a previously unreleased cover of a previously unissued Sufjan Stevens song (!!!).

The themes and locations in this portable song library (with its card catalog-referencing art-work) are as interesting and varied as the formats. For example, one cluster documents the compositions that were commissioned for a 2008 live printmaking event in London, which had Ringhofer leading group sing-a-longs from the wobbly surface of a giant 12-foot spinning plywood record (#2-8). Half-handed Cloud recorded one of the songs to benefit breast cancer research (#15). Other songs wrestle with the complicated history of 16th century exploration (#10-14), or are intended as devotionals for walking (#38-44). There’s even a whole EP’s worth of Christmas songs (#53-60), summoned here from various Holiday compilations from the last decade, including the original version (#59) of one that was recently turned into the grand theme for hit alternate Y2K internet simulation video game "Hypnospace Outlaw."

So, yes, "Gathered?" Yes!

But while “Out Of Thin Air” is a neat turn of phrase, it’s perhaps less accurate. Each of the six-ty songs most absolutely comes from somewhere. Every song captures the very specific place and time and meaning of writing and recording. Ringhofer’s approach tethers each song on Gathered to the grit of work and the discipline of revision. These sixty songs demonstrate an unwavering obsession with marrying the performative experimentalism of song “art” with the sweat and discipline of song “craft,” a balancing act few artists can master.

Because of its frequent religious allusions, Half-handed Cloud’s music is sometimes pegged as a soundtrack for Sunday School. But the sixty songs on Gathered Out of Thin Air might owe more to the brutal efficiency of late ‘70s DIY punk, or the messy sonic worlds of mid-‘90s lo-fi tape experimenters than they do Sunday sermons—Ringhofer’s scholarly and philosophical inquiries distinguish his songs from standard religious apologetics.

With sublime brevity, Ringhofer has always tried to explore the innocence and “nectarean essence” of song melody and structure, then quickly move on (all sixty of these intentionally se-quenced Half-handed Cloud songs could fit on a single 80-minute CD-R). This economy reflects the quick-witted imagination of a playful and prolific musical prodigy who refuses to indulge. For Ringhofer, songs are a sacred thing, and the longer you linger, the less sacred they become.

"Gathered Out Of Thin Air" is special—special because it is truly a gathering of the sacred, put to song, brought to earth for the rest of us by a guy taking the whole thing seriously, accompanied by great levity, and with the sort of detachment that comes from breathing thin air. Like books borrowed from the library, these songs are a kind of gift. When the songs, after having been crafted and loved by Ringhofer, finally leave the speaker, they find homes in our hearts.

credits

releases November 15, 2019

P A R T I C I P A N T S :
• Brandon Buckner: Drum-kit on 9, 16, 36, 57, 59, 60 , lap steel on 9, bass guitar on 60
• Wendy F. Campbell: choir singing on 1–8, 30
• Kevin Christopher: choir singing on 2–8
• Lauren Christopher: choir singing on 2–8
• Chris Cohen: choir singing on 22
• Ashley Eriksson: Backing Vocals on 9
• Karen Grutter: Clarinet on 1, 13-15, 30, 53, choir singing on 1 & 30
• Bert Hiscock: cello on 18, 23, & 34
• Anthony Iammuri: Drum-kit on 1, choir singing on 1 & 30
• David Jaberi: choir singing on 2–8 + microphone loan
• Ezra Justin Lee: choir singing on 2–8
• Eli Moore: Backing Vocals on 9
• Joel Pickell: choir singing on 2–8
• Brian Pfeiffer: Cello on 3, 8, 12, 14, 15, 53
• Jeff Rolka: Flute on 1, 4, 8, 13, 14, 15, 30, 53
• John Ringhofer: arrangements, banjo, bass guitar, church organ, classical guitar, desk bells, drum-kit, electric guitar, glockenspiel, hand-claps, jingle bells, lead + backing vocals, Magnus air organ, Melodions (alto, bass, & soprano), non-instrument sounds, Omnichord, piano, pop bottle flute, sound-loops, stylophone stick, synthesizer, tambourine, triangle, trombone, trumpet, ukulele, whistling, and/or woodblocks on all songs unless otherwise credited.
• Thera Ringhofer: recorder flute on 55, choir singing on 1 & 30, doorbell on 15
• Suzie Shin: choir singing on 1–8, 30
• Nedelle Torrisi: violin on 18 & 34, choir singing on 22
• Yoni Wolf: choir singing on 22
• Elaine Yau: choir singing on 1–8, 30
• McCloud Zicmuse: Bassoon on 55

= = = = =

Songs recorded & mixed by John Ringhofer in Berkeley, CA (USA), Brussels, Belgium, Pretoria, South Africa, and/or Bureau Of Radiophonic Research (BRR) in Helsinki, Finland. Tracks 1-16, 45-53, 56-59 recorded primarily on a Tascam MSR-16 ½ reel-to-reel, except #17 recorded on a 4-track Cassette. Songs 18-44, 54 & 55 recorded with 4-track, Cassette, and computer. Song 60 was made with Garage Band.

Brandon Buckner’s parts, drum-kit (etc) on 9, 16, 57, 59, 60 were recorded by him at Soft Hiss, Hixson, TN (USA).

= = = = =

Art & Layout by John

= = = = =

All songs written by John Ringhofer ©2010-2019 New Jerusalem Music (ASCAP) except:

• Track 13 written by Frode Stromstad (I Was A King)
• Tracks 15 & 16 written by Sufjan Stevens
• Track 36 is P.D./by Joseph M. Scriven & Charles Crozat Converse
• Tracks 58 & 60 written by G.F. Handel, from “Messiah”

= = = = =

Mastered by John Dieterich

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Half-handed Cloud Helsinki, Finland

Tiny, spirited, scrappy investments in melody & arrangement-- homemade pocket-symphony pop sound collage.

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