“The kaleidoscopic music of Cloud Becomes Your Hand can go from tribal to medieval to cacophonous in a single piece. With brilliant melodies, blippy video-game sounds, and Syd Barrett-esque lyrics, Cloud Becomes Your Hand feels like a joyful journey through a strange land.”– The New Yorker
The spirit of discovery has made heroes of mountain climbers and deep sea divers. We rally around it with undaunted belief that one day aliens will be our best friends, if we can just push deep enough into space. Cloud Becomes Your Hand reminds us that this magic of new worlds isn’t just on the edges of civilization; it is all around us. Like a children’s show on PBS, depicting urban life with a frenetic jazz of togetherness and purpose, theirs is the sound of exploring your own city. It is the sound of meeting all the surprising people around you. Surrealism, Dada, psychedelia; these are just fancy words to describe the simple thing this group has done. They’ve collected a bunch of exciting sounds and tied them together with the exclamation, “We’re all here, living these wild lives with each other!” It is sentiment explaining the joy and wonder in a child’s eyes. A sentiment Cloud Becomes Your Hand reminds us is for everyone, forever.
Birthed from the depths of the sweaty basements of Boston, Massachusetts, deranged rock outfit Guerilla Toss is nowadays considered to be a New England underground staple by the freaks and weirdos that inhabit the region. The band has churned out numerous cassettes, records, and CDs in the past two years on on labels such as Feeding Tube Records, John Zorn’s Tzadik, Sophomore Lounge, and Digitalis Ltd. By touring relentlessly and providing their audience with an unforgettably intense live show that demands, and encourages, ravaging physical body movement of the listener, ‘Gtoss’ has quickly garnered a cult following of loyal servants. Their newest record, “Gay Disco”, is an album that draws influence from new wave and no wave dance music, extreme dementia, drug problems, and absurdist humor. However, in the midst of the chaos, it is clear that the compositions are well-crafted and spout from the minds of educated individuals while avoiding the common esoteric pitfalls that could be associated with their sound. Kassie Carlson’s ferocious vocals run the gamut of the human voice, blasting with jet engine shrieking and boiling over with urgency, while at the same time presenting a demented and direct spoken narrative with surreal conversational lyrics. Peter Negroponte’s full force drumming spews forth alongside her like a tentacled beast, battling off fits of rage and panicking between four-on-the-floor dance beats and controlled, pounding trashcan thrash. Guitarists Simon Hanes and Arian Shafiee duel to the death with angular and jagged riffs ping-ponging between each other while keeping pace with dancey stabs of clanging string shrapnel. As messy as it sounds, Hanes’ fuzzed and scuzzed bass jamming still retains heaps of thick, gooey funk in the purest sense, which perfectly compliments Shafiee’s masterful axe work that manages to shape-shift seamlessly between hardcore rawness, jazzy meanderings, and squealing noise rock pepperings. That glue that binds is Ian Kovac’s synth work, which adds a healthy dose hyperactive danceability and electronic flourishing that contributes to the album’s overall doped-up disco flavor. Gtoss succeeds in using the power of dissonance, aggression, and disorientation to derail the dancefloor in a record that captures the essence of a high-energy live band in its loudest, rawest recording to date.
Jessica Cook is a Brooklyn-based artist originally from “Bull City” Durham, North Carolina and a graduate of the Conservatory of Dance at SUNY Purchase (2005). She has performed with Noemie Lafrance Sens/Productions, Hilary Easton & Company, Sidra Bell Dance NY, Gallim Dance Company, People Get Ready, Anneke Hanson Dance, Christine Elmo, Jessica Ray, Laurie Berg, Regina Rocke, UUMANS, Eagle Ager; and Tour of World Confusion among others and in such venues as The Kitchen, The Duke at 42nd st, St. Marks Church, Ronald Feldman Fine Arts Gallery, The Chocolate Factory, Kaatsbahn Center, River to River Festival, Clocktower Gallery, the Austrian Cultural Center, and Robert Wilson’s The Watermill Center. Her own works have been presented at Whartscape Arts Festival, Newsteps, AUNTS, Barn, and Roulette Intermedium. Music video credits include Deerhoof’s “Fete D’Adieu,” Nina Persson’s (of the Cardigans) “Animal Heart,” The National’s “I Need My Girl,” and Legs’ “Hi Times.” Jessica is also a licensed massage therapist, visual artist, and jammer.