Half-handed Cloud
Half-handed Cloud
Label: Asthmatic Kitty Records
Genre: Other
Online: Artist Website


Half-handed Cloud is the off-kilter, huggable brainchild of Berkeley, California's John Ringhofer. Born in a pink hospital in Hawaii to military parents, Ringhofer's make-the-point-and-move-on songwriting reflects the nomadic, drill sergeant lifestyle of those early years, melodies clocking in as quick and efficient song packages. With a name loosely taken from an occurrence in the Old Testament, the celestial telephone is ringing for Half-handed Cloud with a message of love and hope on the other end.

Unlimited by his status as a solo artist, Half-handed Cloud stages unpredictable multi-instrumental/media performances with the spontaneous gusto of an Electric Company superhero. Full of spirited humor, he dissolves any obstacles standing in the way of his innocent bulldozing, jam-packing a sixties sensibility, the touch of a lullaby, and murmurs of divine redemption into micro-narrative and Casio sound effects. Just as fingers begin to snap in time, the artist wraps it up and crackles to conclusion.

A seasoned veteran of the indie rock theater del'absurde, John has shared stages and sensibilities with good friends The Danielson Famile, Sufjan Stevens, June Panic, Soul-junk, The Singing Mechanic, Jai Agnish, and other such notables as Deerhoof, The Mountain Goats, Of Montreal, and The Music Tapes. While his former band Wookieback was well known in Tennessee for songs about outer space, robots, and childhood heroes, Half-handed Cloud marries the same sense of play to explorations of ultimate purpose. This gentle jumping bean perhaps resembles a Frank Zappa with a clean mouth and a clear-headed Brian Wilson teaming up for Sunday services.

A trombonist since the age of ten, Ringhofer picked up the guitar as a teenager while recovering from toe surgery. This same musical destiny propelled him to ask and answer such musical questions as, "What does an air conditioner sound like backwards?" Watching the artist equip himself with the sounds of a 1960's era Sears particleboard guitar, air organ, chattering dolls, stomping on the kitchen floor, and various sixties-pop influences, one may begin to perceive an invisible pattern in the songster's art deco rug. If such inspired titles such as, Tanning Beds to Shine Your Love, Holy Pouch Shoe Guidance, and If Before We Were Coughing, suggest many questions, the songs themselves take a humble and hilarious stab at providing the answers.

Surely a cause for rejoicing, fans of Half-handed Cloud will make a joyful noise in the style of the artist's songwriting: dazzlingly sweet, and dizzyingly short.