December 11th, 2019 , by John Beeler
Last month we released The Decalogue, composed by Sufjan Stevens and performed and recorded by Timo Andres.
The deluxe limited edition, which you can purchase here, includes a 40-page piano score.
But if you don’t have a record player but want to play the etudes at home, you’re still in luck; the score is available for purchase separately, as a 40-page physical book, or as a digital, downloadable PDF. You can purchase it here for $15 for the physical and $5 for the PDF.
December 6th, 2019 , by John Beeler
Today we’re happy to release another new song from the American Foursquare project, entitled “Save Me From Myself.”
Here’s Denison on the themes of “Save Me From Myself:”
Family life is busy. I don’t have the same amount of time for self reflection that I once had. While I do miss that alone time, being part of a family has given me a different kind of clarity. My children teach me that my own needs are very simple. They just want to be loved. They just want to be heard. They just want to feel safe. I am reminded of the lyrics in one of my favorite songs, The Prayer Of Saint Francis—“It is In giving of ourselves that we receive.” I think family life is much the same way.
This song is the first track Denison recorded with Thomas Bartlett (aka Doveman) back in February 2017 (!!!). The result, this song, is what led Denison and Thomas to keep tinkering and recording together. “I remember being really nervous,” says Denison, “because I wasn’t sure if I was actually making a new album or if we were just experimenting. When he added the piano part the song came to life and I somehow knew innately that, after my long hiatus from music, I was ready to start a new record.”
You can listen to the song here, or via your favorite streaming platform here.
November 22nd, 2019 , by John Beeler
Today, Denison has released some more new music. This time it’s “For the Beauty of the Earth,” a holiday hymn written by 19th century Tractarian, scholar, and writer Folliott Pierpoint.
Here’s Denison on the song:
“‘For the Beauty Of The Earth’ is my favorite song of thankfulness. It is a reminder that peace and beauty can be simple, located in the world around us and the people we love. I recorded this song live with my friend Thomas Bartlett. He played piano while I sang. We performed it twice and picked our favorite take. I wanted it to sound the way I sing it to my children at night.”
We hope you enjoy the song over the holidays.
November 15th, 2019 , by John Beeler
Half-handed Cloud’s Gathered Out Of Thin Air is the culmination of nearly a decade of songwriting, recording, and collecting. We’ve been slowly trickling out batches of songs from this compilation, but at long last you can hear it in its glory on 2xLP or via your favorite digital platform.
The compilation includes songs like “Naaman,” which is a cover of an unreleased Sufjan Stevens song, sent to John Ringhofer (Half-handed Cloud) back in early 2001, “Nativity Costume (2000 Year’s Eve),” a holiday song of John’s that found its way into a cover song for the end credits of the video game Hypnospace Outlaw, “California” a cover of a song by Norwegian band I Was A King, a newly-mastered version of “Train Yourselves In Godliness,” from 2015’s self-released digital-only Foiled EP N°1, “Stumbled On A Holiness,” which is from Half-handed Cloud’s previously-unreleased Wearing The Path EP, “Here We Go Transformation,” which was previously only released with a zine, and over 50 other singles, non-album EPs, Christmas songs, and rarities from 2010-2019 – gathered into one place just for you.
Listen here, or order the 2xLP here or with your local record store. If you order through Asthmatic Kitty Records, we’ll include a limited edition set of four bookmarks, designed by John Ringhofer (Half-handed Cloud), while supplies last.
November 8th, 2019 , by John Beeler
There are now three more new songs we can hear from Half-handed Cloud’s forthcoming 2xLP compilation, Gathered Out of Thin Air.
In this third release of three songs each, there’s “Naaman,” which is a cover of an unreleased song sent by Sufjan Stevens to John Ringhofer (Half-handed Cloud) early in 2001, back when they were first pen pals. There’s a newly-mastered version of “Running Off With Balderdash” from Half-h’s scrappy Foiled EP N°2. And finally there’s “Nativity Costume (2000 Year’s Eve),” a holiday song John wrote that found its way into a cover song for the end of credits of the video game Hypnospace Outlaw.
Next Friday, November 15th, we’ll be able to hear a decade’s worth of work, all 60 tracks, in one place! The 2xLP is still available for preorder here.
Pre-orders through Asthmatic Kitty Records include a limited set of four bookmarks, designed by Ringhofer.
November 1st, 2019 , by John Beeler
A couple of weeks ago, we debuted three new-to-us songs from the forthcoming Half-handed Cloud compilation, Gathered Out Of Thin Air.
Today, Half-handed Cloud (aka John Ringhofer) is releasing a new batch of three additional songs: “Peoples With Rubbed Out Steeples,” “California,” and “You Came To Disappear.” All of these come from small-run vinyl pressings over the last decade. This is the digital debut of 2011’s “Peoples With Rubbed Out Steeples,” (originally part of Burnt Toast Vinyl’s 1-Sided LP series) and ”California” (from a 2012 Spendour split-7” record with Norway’s I Was A King. “California” is a cover of one of I Was A King’s songs. “You Came To Disappear” comes from 2015’s analog monophonic synthesizer-based Jiminy Circuits EP, originally commissioned by Plastiq Musiq.
Listen to those songs on Spotify here, on Bandcamp here, or on your favorite platform.
Gathered Out Of Thin Air is a new double LP gatefold sleeve compilation of sixty newly-mastered rarities and singles, recorded throughout the HHC’s second decade (2010-2019), set to release November 15th 2019 via AKR on digital, streaming, and 2xLP. Though some of the sixty tracks have seen previous release in other formats, this is the first time these songs have been re-mastered and compiled for wide release via digital platforms and vinyl.
The 2xLP is available for preorder here. Initial pre-orders through Asthmatic Kitty Records include a limited set of four bookmarks, designed by John Ringhofer.
October 25th, 2019 , by John Beeler
A few weeks ago, we announced American Foursquare, a new project from Denison Witmer. Today, you can hear the first single, “River of Music.”
American Foursquare was started with Thomas Bartlett (Sufjan Stevens, The National, Norah Jones) in New York City, and finished and mixed in Seattle, WA, with Andy Park (Death Cab For Cutie, Pedro The Lion, Noah Gundersen). Abby Gundersen and Aaron Campbell contributed instruments and vocals.
Here’s what Denison had to say about “River of Music”:
While writing this song, I often thought about how music is basically a magic spell. Something is created from nothing—arranging notes and rhythm and instruments—and it has the possibility of shifting our emotions, thoughts, and even our actions. I take so much from music, so I’m grateful to give back in whatever way I can.
“River of Music” feels like a fitting first song to release after my hiatus from recording and touring. It’s a love song. It’s a call to action to give back, pay it forward, live intentionally, and love unconditionally.
Listen on your favorite steaming platform here, or below.
October 18th, 2019 , by John Beeler
Sufjan’s score score for Justin Peck’s ballet The Decalogue —ten etudes for solo piano— is on out now on digital platforms and in record stores via a vinyl deluxe edition. CD and standard edition vinyl are following on December 6, 2019.
Performed by the pianist Timo Andres, this recording of The Decalogue is the first time the score, originally premiered during the New York City Ballet’s 2017 season, is available to the public.
The deluxe, limited edition of The Decalogue includes a Stoughton tip-on gatefold jacket, 180-gram vinyl, a 40-page song chart book, a monotype print from visual artist Charlotte de Mezamat, and a download card. If purchased directly from AKR, the deluxe edition also includes a 20-page 12×12 photo booklet.
You can buy the album from AKR here, or check with your favorite local record store.
To hear The Decalogue on your preferred streaming platform, click here.
October 9th, 2019 , by John Beeler
Here’s some good news: in November we’re releasing a brand new Half-handed Cloud double vinyl compilation of sixty newly-mastered, non-LP singles from the band’s second decade (2010-2019), Gathered Out Of Thin Air.
And today, Half-handed Cloud (John Ringhofer) is debuting three songs from the forthcoming compilation, with more songs to come in the following weeks (so stay tuned).
Three new singles are available on your favorite streaming platform, here. Watch a video from Half-handed Cloud for “Here We Go Transformation” here:
The themes and locations in this portable song library (with its card catalog-referencing artwork) are as interesting and varied as the formats. For example, one song cluster documents the compositions that were commissioned for a 2008 live printmaking event in London, which had Ringhofer leading group sing-a-longs from the wobbly surface of a giant 12-foot spinning plywood record player (#2-8). Half-handed Cloud recorded one of the songs to benefit breast cancer research (#15). Other songs wrestle with the complicated history of 16th century exploration (#10-14), or are intended as devotionals for walking (#38-44).
There’s even a whole EP’s worth of Christmas songs (#53-60), summoned here from various compilations from the last decade, including one (#59) that was recently turned into the grand theme for hit alternate Y2K internet simulation video game Hypnospace Outlaw.
Pre-orders for the 2xLP from Asthmatic Kitty include a complimentary limited set of four Gathered Out Of Thin Air bookmarks, and access to all of the MP3s as we release them.
You can preorder the 2xLP at our online shop here, or at your favorite record store.
October 4th, 2019 , by John Beeler
A couple of weeks ago, we announced The Decalogue, a recording of Sufjan’s score for Justin Peck’s ballet of the same name, performed by pianist Timo Andres.
Today you can hear “IV,” the fourth etude of ten on The Decalogue, on your usual digital streaming platform, or on YouTube with animation by Stephen Halker of Unreasonable Studios here.
You can also listen on your favorite streaming platform here.
We’re releasing The Decalogue digitally and on limited deluxe vinyl edition on October 18th. You’ll be able to find it at your favorite local record store, or you can preorder it here.
The deluxe edition includes a 40-page song chart book.
Below are the charts for “IV.”