Release Date: Jun 10, 2014
Record label: Asthmatic Kitty
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Lo-Fi, Indie Pop, Chamber Pop
For the last year, I’ve been reading through the Bible. It has, no doubt, been interesting. And if not interesting, then boring. And if not boring, then horrifying. And if not horrifying, then unforgivable. And if not unforgivable, then darkly mysterious — like the face of the deep, and the ….
John Ringhofer, the brain behind Half-Handed Cloud's joyfully slight songcraft, found a voice for his Christian message over the course of multiple albums of homespun twee pop that often flies by in strings of whimsical one-minute songs. Flying Scroll Flight Control is the sixth full-length from Half-Handed Cloud, and it follows the same path of sweetly humble indie-bred chamber pop that other albums have had, recorded in full on an analog 16-track tape machine, resulting in a slightly more organic sound. Ringhofer recorded the album in the Berkeley, California church where he lived rent-free in return for custodial services over the course of many months, and the album crackles with meticulously placed detail.
Does Half-Handed Cloud sound quite a bit like Sufjan Stevens? Yes, definitely. But this is a project put out by Asthmatic Kitty and produced by none other than Stevens himself. John Ringhofer may dabble in the same pool of musical eccentricity as his producer, but he's also more up front about the importance of the Christian faith to both his life and his lyrics.
I happen to like the music of Sufjan Stevens, and it isn’t just a matter of the fact that, when he wants to, he can cut some glorious melodies. I love his approach to Christianity. Basically, Stevens is a Christian and oftentimes writes about Christian themes, but does it in a way that doesn’t feel like he’s shoving a Bible down your throat. He’s basically a guy who has deep seated religious beliefs, but doesn’t feel that he has to peddle or minister to the masses.