Flying Scroll Flight Control

An Album By

Half-Handed Cloud

Review by

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Eighteen songs in about 25 minutes is no personal best in brevity for John Ringhoffer’s Half-Handed Cloud (his one-man band), but Flying Scroll Flight Control may be his densest work in a career extending back to the turn of the last century. Think of it this way. Were your average megachurch praise and worship song leader to have:

  • A decent grip on a panoply of biblical doctrine subsets…
  • …the desire to compose a soliloquy opera with choral accompaniment…
  • …that could command the attention span of grade schoolers raised on public TV…
  • …keep the listeners guessing just where the melodies noisily minimalist tuneage (that’s part and parcel to the whole enchilada) is going any given second…
  • …thus confusing and comforting the young’uns in one fell swoop…

This may be an approximation of the resultant brainstorm. Appreciation of Control would be enhanced by familiarity with, if not love of, the less depressing, more devotional portions of Sufjan Stevens’ vocal work catalog, but because Ringhoffer’s singing voice is so similar to Stevens’ it’s uncanny. If this contributes any kind of new ground in the kind of Christian indie-ness Danielson Familie whipped up into general market appreciation a couple decades back, it’s the way everything flows seamlessly, as if one extended doxological recitative. If you know and enjoy what Ringhoffer’s been about for a while, here’s an exemplary specimen of Half-Handed Cloud’s peaceful wilderness.

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