Obscured by Clouds

 

Obscured By Clouds debut independent release “Psycheclectic” lands squarely straddling the pages of Classic Rock Magazine in two separate reviews in the very same year. How often has that ever happened with  original truly independent musicians and a songwriter? Very rare! …Not too often at all really, and for many of us not too often enough.  Lightening does indeed strike twice in the same place, and you may be intrigued to celebrate their unique distinctiveness and ride along their journey in independent music versus a commercial autocracy?  Maybe you might think it’s great that independently Obscured By Clouds broke through to reach their audience and fellow musicians without the veneer of a great big record company or other unconscious delusions of popularity theory relative to the 1% of all music ever heard.  Independents often have no interest in becoming encapsulated into any institution, so look for us to stay completely independent.

This is an unassuming conceptual album by today’s standard, and why not? It is a refreshing indulgence after all. This CD is a great example of what virtually freeform, selflessness, and independent music can be accomplished with a very modest budget, delivered with solid production, and within a truly independent format. Independent music is where all the potential is, and this album is a great example of what is possible beyond all the limitations music faces today.

Obscured By Clouds new album “Psycheclectic” produced, written, and recorded by William Weikart (lyrics, vocals, guitars, synthesizers, special-effects).  Also featuring: Kevin Cozad (piano, synthesizers), Phil Baker (bass), Thee Slayer Hippy (drums/recording), Ben Brown (bass), Siq (sitar) – create a unique blend of resonance and transcendence on the debut official release of Obscured By Clouds. 

The live performance includes two new songs on the pending full-length LIVE DVD of “Psycheclectic” with the very latest cinematic time-lapse imagery that will make your jaw drop. The live performances recorded light up the hallowed arches and columns of the eclectic genres we straddle as charted, while converting our sound to our own identity and originality, like Floyd, that is a worthy new climb for independent music’s modernity still in reference to the amalgam of the past that guided us to this point in time embodying the psycheclectic in meaning and intent. While putting the Obscured By Clouds’ Floydian fling gerrymandering our independent tangent and will revealed our next musical and cultural boundary or boundlessness ahead. “Psycheclectic” fades in slowly-slowly, subsonic rumbling flutter, shuttering vibrations, as tectonic overdrive disengages releasing in thunder, hidden voices murmuring, and familiar heart strikes to crescendo conceptual segues the Drip Feed from album chapter, verse, and the ultimate departure beyond. The Drip Feed journey flows through each song throughout the entire series of pieces, and includes a subconscious murmured dialog that fades and awakens in dénouement.

"We did not have the luxury of a large budget or top flight equipment. I emphasized vintage sounds recorded with the most depth audio-field as possible.  I think this simplicity reveals the ultimacy that adds to the raw analog sound elements for the album’s echoes of the past, we are aiming the azimuth at the future with our DVD soon to be out loosed upon the Earth" admits front man, songwriter, band manager, and label founder (Psycheclectic Records) William Weikart. "We popped a few bottles of red wine and great microbrews, and  pounded away for months on the recording process. We did however take the recording off our humble Avid ProTools Digi 001 and plowed it through a huge vintage API board from circa 1973.  It was like using non-depleted plutonium from old munitions and interfacing it with analog tape harmonics, saturation and warmth of British soundboard and a little American know how.  We worked tracks through tape to seize the old dimensions and force it through the new fat depth of conversion, and brought everything back out into through the fat, sick, thick, and heavy vintage API board.  These worlds collided and produced this sound."

"The reason I started Obscured By Clouds was to share the concept of a band together, not to espouse the William Weikart “show” – connecting and pulling the abstractions of improvisation of the guitar parts into our gigs with my band is the best rushes and experiences a musician can have, that’s the best part of our live performances.  It was the camaraderie of a band we had in mind with a grander view of what a band could create together. I wanted to have the strength of a focused group, not the indulgence of an individual," says front man William Weikart on why he decided to form Obscured by Clouds to flesh out his songs.

The first segue opens the studio CD “Psycheclectic” with the subsonic rumbling and thunderous warbling that lead to the whispered murmuring of a faint female voice softly musing in her subconscious dialogue.  This thematic flow of consciousness stands out to be the conceptual running theme throughout the CD from beginning to end.

"I still miss the concept album and the extended attention span it encompassed," says Weikart.

In the midst of all of this connection, conversation and inspiration came the ideas for a new sound—new music with our evolving scope of identity of its own dimensions from the album "Psycheclectic." In our long reach beyond the molds of cinematic and musical homage, and carrying on beyond the preconceptions of the 1% phenomenological obsessions of the latest century, Obscured By Clouds have transcended the unconscious collective without the aid of any record industry or institutional illusion hyping a ridiculously fat bloated budget.  Transformed through the vast daunting challenges ahead and behind, limitations of industry dogma, hard f*-ing work, do it all yourself practically, and the dedication of some impressive musicians with whom we have had the honor of working and connecting.  Thank you to the other musicians we work with, other bands we’ve played with, fellow producers, other enthusiasts, weird independent instrumentalists, people who can stand on their own two feet and are not afraid of walking their own path, and the people and audience who preference conscious participation over an unconscious collective that hides behind archetypes of popularity theories failing to propel creative new music into the future.

The opening song, “Soft Cheeked and Worried” flows out of the introduction with the sonic imagery of drifting desert clouds holding the darkness yet unrevealed, the light on a the next horizon, and the unknown. The song begins starkly barren with only acoustic guitar juxtaposed against thunder, then flourishing instrumental entrances prevail, the grand piano frenetic unleashing, and the warm tones of an endless sustain of electric guitars just on the edge of feedback, before the darkness falls and such feedback envelopes the clouds of sound. This song draws through stark verses and descending chromatic virtually atonal choruses, stop CODA’s, and concludes with a droning wall of sound of beaming e-bow guitar sustained feedback and oscillating synthesizers.

“Zoë Zolofft” holds true as an obscure Syd Barrett-esque song in homage, a song about a girl, a sitar, and modern pharmakinetics; and concludes with the sonic imagery of the splintered spokes of a broken and wobbling wheel via Mitch Mitchell backwards Hendrix-ian backward beat.

“Cast Close the Gate” the three-minute song with the obligatory grand ending of feedback unlike anything you may have heard before, the feedback on the guitar at the end of the song alone will reset the gauge for guitar weirdness.  The guitar sounds like a space-craft crashing on a forbidden planet.  

“Love’s Love” has a more mellow cadence, that ascribes the duality and simultaneity in few words with a

Floydishly acoustic accompaniment. 

“Faiths’ Soul” ingathers all the world’s religiosity and dogma versus meaninglessness and distortion that subdue our consciousness and participation; such capacity to think beyond these limitations and endure has it’s own source and singularity beyond ourselves, the weight of humanity, and modern cultures’ illusions. 

“Consider This A Message” strikes the oceanic waves pounding the haul of the ghostly ship of fools sinking, the crew clawing climbing overtop to reach the mast and be the very last to sink.  Star-crossed and untoward, the fated take the longest road.

Obscured By Clouds steps out from behind all veils, preconceptions, or limitations here. This new music is a very eclectic amalgam holding potential for an introspective journey waiting for discovery.

The entire album has an intriguingly measured intensity revealing the themes in all their complexity and simplicity.  Each song yields to the subconscious undertow of lyricism as in betwixt “The Drip Feed” theme trails throughout each segue, within the very psychedelic cross-faded themes of each new song.  The Drip Feed reprising theme appears under the new century’s shadow of technological disassociation of being over beings.  As homage and meaning are both held again in question, under the subconscious undertow not far from the split of borderline-thinking itself; pharmacological regimes and new world robotic human maintenance organizations of tomorrow have a plan, and you’re not going to like it.  These are the vast symbols and archetypes underlying the lyricism here written throughout “Psycheclectic” utilizing The Drip Feed theme conceptually.  The other pieces on the album approach issues as intriguing as mustered.

"I wrote and recorded almost twenty songs, and I chose only the songs I felt were the strongest to put on this new CD," Weikart says of how "Psycheclectic" came about. "This album started rather slow with about four or five songs holding promise. Then one morning I woke up and wrote 'Consider This A Message' in about ten minutes. The recording process started to gather more and more momentum after that. There was a lot of time spent on trying abstract ideas over top of the foundation of the original recordings to try and discover those encrypted inherent weird affects to add a meaningful distortion of sorts and try and pull this abstraction back into the comprehensive foundational piece. Sometimes the source of the growth of a song is hidden in its juxtaposition against other abstractions musically or lyrically. This type of personal signature of strangeness is what makes all those great psychedelic relics and albums so incredibly indelible across all time, in my humble opinion. The Art Band or Progressive music was not very popular at first way back then, and most b-sides did not rise to popularity either.  And now that format is considered Classic Rock and holds all accountable to it’s scale, force and capacity."

The live band featured Weikart on vocals, guitars, and synthesizers, and is fleshed out by Kevin Cozad (piano, synthesizers), Sandin Wilson (bass), Merrill Hale (drums), and Matthew Bradley (guitars).  In all of our forms we’ve played shows from Seattle all the way down to Los Angeles at The Whisky A Go Go!  We’ve worked with great musicians like: Reinhardt Melz (drums), Phil Baker (bass), Bob Raymond (drums), Ray Woods (synthesizers), Ian Wengs (bass), Roger Feible (conga), Jeff Norton (drums) and Thee Slayer Hippie (Paging Dr. Hanford) (drums).  Also, thanks to Chip Butters (live recording/mixing) and Nick Moon (recording/mixing).

William continues, "Pink Floyd was really responsible for my love of music. And I don’t throw that band name down loosely. I mean, I delved deeply into their music and catalogs, as I did with so many bands in an exhaustive passionate inculcation of music and the creative process. Standing alone, Pink Floyd was everything that made music amazing, I would say. If I were lying on a beach with crashing waves in a half conscious state, there would be no better music floating across the sand than 'Relics', 'More', 'The Madcap Laughs', or even early 'Tangerine Dream'.  Okay, and one hundred other bands too.”

In 1998 Obscured By Clouds produced their album and song titled “Bleed” that received some great response and connection with Floyd fans around the globe.  One of the band’s biggest highlights, and more specifically, one of Weikart’s biggest thrills resulting from Obscured By Clouds, was hearing that Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour and the band’s engineer Andy Jackson both appreciated Obscured By Cloud’s sound enough to request the CD “Bleed” from Weikart that included some of Floyd’s early works and the original song “Bleed” written and performed by William Weikart.  The CD featured Ray Woods on synthesizers and Roger Feibel on Congas.  The album sounded like Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett meet Nick Drake, a little.

"One of the most synchronistic moments in the history of Obscured By Clouds happened when I received an e-mail from Tube Records," says Weikart. "I discovered there was someone who wanted to connect. Apparently, Tube Records was releasing some of David Gilmour’s and Andy Jackson’s works. You can’t imagine how excited I was when I determined it was David Gilmour and, long time Floyd engineer, Andy Jackson who were the source of the outreach. It was a moment of reflection that was a threshold experience for me." They traded email back and forth. Andy was acting on behalf of Tube Records, who wanted a copy of the bands first demo "Bleed", as well as other new material, some of which songs ended up on Psycheclectic. "We sent it off, along with some of our other stuff too. It was great to hear that they really liked our work." William talked on the phone with Andy Jackson about music and various Floyd conceptual sound effects.

William admits, "We hope to have an opportunity to work with Dave and Andy in the future, maybe even on the house boat studio on the Thames. …The kingdoms’ “heaviest” boat on the river -- relative to its vast musical capacity."

 

So what’s next for Obscured by Clouds?

 

William describes, "We have our pending new DVD of the Psycheclectic Tour integrating some great band performance footage with new High Definition time-lapse colorized footage of space, nature, and technological imagery that recasts reality in any color you like; the new DVD is pretty damn amazing looking.  I have never seen anything like it, as the new age of film software is shockingly advanced now.  We are doing things I have never seen done before on film.  Unfortunately, we have had our laser show footage taken by some unidentified individual and are still hoping they will give it back so we can add it to the DVD, but it is still not returned as yet.  Look to September 2013 for this new DVD release with two new unreleased songs in addition to the original “Psycheclectic” set list.  We are looking forward to coordinating our next tour and reflecting upon our past tours as listed on Obscuredbyclouds.com/.net.” Weikart says of the band’s current plans, “After we release our new DVD with the new songs we would love to tour more across America including New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Canada; and we would enjoy a small tour in London, United Kingdom, Europe, Japan, South Korea, South & Central America, Mexico and China, if it is all possible. We thought it would be great to tour a few ski-resorts in the western US and Canada too, as many of the members of the band are skiers and boarders.  I was born in Cleveland and have never been to the Rock and Roll hall of fame.”

Beyond touring, the band’s simple goal is to connect with our audience and friends around the world. “We are looking forward to connecting with people that inspire us and are fond of such independent simplicity of life we too are fond of, which is not too much to ask, we think,” Weikart says with a smile. “We do not have large egos, we need not prop ourselves up here, and we truly do not need to prove anything to anyone other than ourselves and the audience that finds itself with us. If I were going to see a band live as a participating music supporter, I would be intrigued if any band were doing what we are doing with such interesting cinematic effects driving the live improvised performances including our live laser-show. It is truly authentic, thoughtful, and inspiring as far as I have experienced, and from what I have heard from people that love our music. We won’t please everyone, but if you like inspiration and such simple pleasures of the world such as this music; then you are already practically in our audience. It is that simple and uncomplicated. You are welcome, come hang with us at our shows in support of the continuum of independent music and musicians."