Cloud - "Blunt Shade Artcore"
(Semper Lofi Recordings 1999, CD)
From Aural Innovations #7 (July 1999)
Cloud is the latest project from home taper Michael J. Bowman who has been releasing music under the moniker MJB for over ten years now. Blunt Shade Artcore is an all instrumental collection of creative pop, space, jazz, and... well just about everything really. I hear guitar, bass, drums (real ones), and various keyboards, all of which I gather are played by MJB.
The music on Blunt Shade Artcore runs the gamut from nice guitar/piano melodies like "Full Portrait Jerry Chest Tattoo" and "The Total Blam-Blam" to spacey atmospheric electronica like "No Sides Now" and "Norway Is The New Zealand". And on "He's Drowning" I found myself asking if this was an old Soft Machine outtake. Wow!
But Cloud also has its own idea of what pop music should sound like. "Sunset" is a raw percussion-heavy dittie for those who appreciate a good noisey toe tappin' tune and know that a little dissonance is essential to creating real pop music. "Every Great Action Hero Needs A Sidekick" is kind of like the soundtrack to a an old 60's movie or TV show. Not that I can think of an example or anything. Percussion-heavy again and lots of piano and organ creating a cool melody. One of my favs on the disc. On "Upon Discovering The Lair Of The Secret Beach Boys Fans" MJB again displays a flair for catchy melodies. This could just as easily have been referred to as Bonzo fans as much as Beach Boy fans. Other highlights include "Finger Turn Me On" which is just a tad bit acid-rock poppy. Actually it's a collage of several styles. And "The Eternal Flame Takes A Permanent Vacation" is a jamming pop psych tune.
For More information visit the Semper Lofi web site.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz