Track By Track : Obscured By Clouds - Thermospheric

By John A. Wilcox



I'm going to give the introductory reins of this stellar live CD to Obscured By Clouds leader William Weikart: "Thermospheric" is the highest sparse atmosphere where no rain clouds dwell. Clouds at this height instead emerge as clouds of electromagnetic light waves. The Aurora Borealis particle wave of electromagnetic energy appears as clouds of purple and green light, red on Saturn, or electric blue on Jupiter, among all the colors of the spectrum of visible light are produced in the thermosphere.

The album cover or Blu-Ray DVD cover has a cobalt blue wave form cross-section based upon the electro magnetic sound wave displacing the particles displayed in the image. Out of the actual sound wave image flows surrounding the galaxy overlay of a qubit-neuron exploding into polarized spectrum of visible light. Schrodinger's cat appears as a galaxy within a neuron of light spinning in superposition in spooky entanglement of the dendritic tunnels into the human neuron galaxy. It's where the music comes from the creative consciousness.

The instrumentation of the live recording from Seattle, Washington produces the thematic (thermospheric) elements as there is a lot of sound going on here. The lyrics are the indulgence of commentary over a complete unknown the jagged structure of the raw instrument semi-tones and chords. The instruments become beasts, a spear, a vast bow, a laser landscape set fire by a sheet of sound and feedback, a weapon of love to subdue and maybe even slay. The venue becomes the sound reflecting off the back of the room.

For vocals William brings all characterizations to bear breathing life into the cinematic aspect of the performance itself, as he sees the message the audience seemingly feels as it is sung. Lyrics are not only poetry, they take on an ontic state of being that reflects across the audience as the message shifts to a qubit in lyrical folly of impact or can triggers other meaningful references for the creative-prone. Music is the ultimate indulgence after all. You don't have to draw meaning, in some ways you can let go as the performance takes on it's own meaning.


Track 1: Soft Cheeked And Worried
WW: Soft Cheeked And Worried flows out of the introduction with the sonic imagery of drifting high desert clouds holding the darkness yet unrevealed, the lightening on the next horizon of the unknown. The song begins starkly barren with only acoustic guitar juxtaposed against thunder. Then flourishing instrumental entrances and stops prevail into the haunting choruses where the grand pianos frenetic unleashing ensues over 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 to return to the next verse. This song draws through stark verses and chromatic descents into atonal notes, stop CODA's, and concludes with a droning wall of sound of beaming e-bow guitars, sustained feedback, and oscillating synthesizers. Kevin Cozad plays some amazing ploddingly legato rock flourishes on the piano. The vocals break from the verses into a powerful choral rounds of falling notes that drop almost atonal into the fabric of the guitars bleeding in feedback. The lyrical aspect of this song is set in a region of Northwest known as the Painted Hills. At sunset the hills glow with a myriad of colors and their shape resembles the soft flowing curves of a woman's body symbolically. This is where "her curved painted hills" phrase originates from in the song. Remember the very last time you made love to the person in your life? ...And when you knew you had to leave the relationship. The sunset of the waning passion was so bittersweet. You knew you would remember the smell of her hair. ...The perfection of her familiar kiss. ...The flow of the skyward clouds and last breeze you felt flow over her skin. It is this rapturous moment of lust that would be your last presence in your lover's eyes that you knew you soon would miss so much. There are things that remain unsaid as they cannot rise to words, or sink to words, or be ultimately univocal transcending spoken words altogether. The music video shots of the band on stage use so much strobing on the Blu-ray that we need a WARNING for people who may be triggered by flashbacks and other seizure safety protocols.

Track 2: Zoe Zolofft
WW: Zoe 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. Why in God's name is there a Sitar on this song? Listen, you'll know why. It is one of the most psychedelic songs on the CD. There is a three beat hop betwixt and over top the 2/4 time signature in this simplified poly-rhythmic meter. If ever William of Obscured By Clouds wrote a song in the style of Syd Barrett this would be the song. It is this splitting strangeness that intrigues William about Barrett's music. Along with Syd's reckless abandon to say what had to be said independent of all else -- the message was hidden within the center and the heart of the wowing musical moments and fluttering chaos of the Floyd around him. The acoustic guitar in Zoe Zolofft lopes along with the drum strikes almost like a demented sing along song or drinking song. William's vocals are pushed up into the lankily realm of this Barrett-esque rambling of a freeform flow of consciousness lyrical and 'leap off the cliff as a base jumping approach to melody and harmony. Some people call it Bowie on Barbiturates, maybe the style is more like a Ringmaster of an ironic Circus calling out the next acts. You may find this song in Sad Barrett's attic, just next to the Red and Yellow Man on the Stallion Horse and the Dolly Rocker. The rotary speakers emulate a very retro-psychedelic electric guitar line that trails along almost subconsciously like a fiery comet with tracers bound for the center of the Earth. There are four different psychedelic instrumental harmonies caught in the undertow of this mellow manic song. From the synthesizers drunken maniacal calliope and sliding trombone, to the Beatle-esque sitars and Spanish trumpet, to the ethereal strings endowed by the psychotic Fender Rhodes strikes flitting across the peripheries of the mix; you can't really see the bottom of the deep well of this song. A song in a modern story about a girl, love and a sitar. She is an amalgam of all your passions. She is elegant, lustful, misleading and empty by omission. A little bit of Zoe is in everywoman, as she's not truly an individual and more so an amalgam. She is not to be taken while operating heavy machinery. Doctors orders only, do not take without a prescription. Sometimes even medication won't really work or be effective. She is the tumultuous ride that ends with the inverted pinnacle of grief...yet you still keep coming back for more. I linger a little longer to hide in her hair...and then I'm gone.

Track 3: Miraculous
WW: It is often amazing humans are here still and survived this long on Earth it seems. Other days it seems like a miraculous dark irony we go on in our angst and unconsciousness. Ideation about sentient consciousness that transforms compassion from the stone strike of duality. Today we have less of heaven, more of war, and we're sinking into the warming sands under rising tides. The sentience of love's love presence is time beyond time in the symbology of the lyrics as they continue. As she spoke of us like the summer wind, of afterglows, and what's too much to ask? Duality perhaps is too much, the duality without union. We throw duality's split at the scapegoat so worthy of stone's strike, and whose blood's on you now? Duality is only karma's reflection of today's idol speeches, and heaven needs no stone to throw.

Track 4: Faiths' Soul
WW: 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. When Earth's end of days arrives in finality, when the sun consumes the planet in the mercurial pool of molten sunlight what will be the last human vestige to witness this? The statutes of stone of man-woman standing on the shores of time, staring into a myopic distance of mortality and soon to wilt under the sun into ghosts forgotten. I too feel in moments that I am a pre-conceptive yet unconscious ghost of time, a statue of stone not always living or feeling to reach my fullest potential, with only the redemption of woman's repose to fall back upon. She lies in reflection of the gorgeous petals that accept their short bloom, that delicately spread to receive the light...dreaming the wakefulness of love's love. Lest we hold out a hand...what more could there be? And at the end, who will sort out our bones...does it even matter? We have to surrender and trust blind will, often down the wrong path. Her sweet cheek, just as tenderly, is paling in time. In all what is hearts' heart? So cold, this passion that does not have the capacity to love as does mine. When all we believe comes from the soul, and all we are comes from our belief; are all souls believable after all? Everybody seems to like Faiths' Soul, it's solid in musicality and just enough complexity as a dense metalogic fugue-esque, multi-outro, coda-dreaming song that reveals revelation.

Track 5: Consider This A Message
WW: Consider This A Message strikes the oceanic waves pounding the cracked haul of the ghostly ship of fools sinking, while the crew is clawing climbing overtop to reach the mast and be the very last to sink. Star-crossed and untoward, the fated take the longest road. No matter how much you care. No matter how much you want to help. No matter how much the depth of despair can cull, there is nothing to reap from the bottom of a vast dark sea. And when all that is left is spite...you know you are at the very last voyage to desperation. These people are dead inside, this I would say for sure. And though they have departed on their final narcotic voyage, the crew glomming-glowering look of death upon each other, just as the jester juggles eyeing you with a look of death, and the tasters taste seeking the smite of poison to seize your breath. We change our form, we change our masks to hide but in the end the satyr is dead, and all the lies in the world can't fill a thimble with redemption. Untoward and star-crossed, they think they're clever, they think they invented crossing, double crossing, and scapegoats...the Satyr, in his spiral theory splits and is fated the longest road. To serve the demon in his veins and this odium that courses through mind's gate. The thought you thunk to ward the vibe of emptiness inside...will warm your grave and push away the daisies and still they won't consider this a message of grace. The ship of fools, the nameless crew, has departed and sank...their crude glomming of what riddance and penance was forsaken...they lament, and climb the mast to be the last to sink...a blitz they split ensnaring themselves in their own trap. You just have to make leave and shake your head...

Track 6: Cast Close The Gate
WW: The three-minute song with the obligatory grand ending of the slamming of the gate of time. The guitar sounds on the Psycheclectic CD sound like a space-craft crashing on a forbidden planet. Here the gate of time slamming ends Thermospheric. The symbology afoot here is, it's never too late to be where we'd all belong. The song came from a painting William made that looked as though clouds were the foundation of golden tiled path of an awareness that exudes from the perspective if the painter were a sea gull flying over oceans. The sunlit eternal gaze of time's grain of sand spilling through the narrow way forever, as consciousness cannot be unified with such awareness that has past and gone. Do we accept belonging or do we belong to acceptance? The lyrical license is almost an hallucinatory gate of grace, a rapturous redemption, a form of formlessness as is all that remains. Somehow...if we could just change, it's never too late to 'be.' The closing two phrases of the song distort into a grand ending of a wall of sound and the slam of massive ancient gate closing forever. The next unique segue piece flows into the next song in the live performance recorded in Seattle, Washington.

Track 7: Love's Love
WW: Love's Love has a more mellow cadence, that ascribes the duality and simultaneity in few words with a Floydishly acoustic accompaniment. "Melting hearts in consuming tides... What winds fill our sail? Oceans' wide." The tide of humanity, the tides of oceans, the archetypes extend as deep as the atmospheres from fathoms of the sea to the outer layer of the Thermospheric. Who has not felt the warmth of the sun on your skin, the sound of the waves breaking, and the timeless warmth of her hand in yours... You lay together on the distant memory as the universe pours through you both. It is an ultimate surrender this bridge beyond ourselves. In our unity with the world the universe opens our hearts entwine, they entwine with our passions. And you hear the songs that spill from her lips as you share her rises in waxes and her wanes. Along this broken path traveled only once a thousand times. The breeze moves and her forever scent (from her hair) fills your mind of every time you've ever made love to her. This fond familiar shore you laze upon, as the sun circles musing in the falling hour glass sand of time's embrace; so passionately and timelessly all this effervesces as you melt together.

Track 8: Bleed
WW: Bleed is a song originally written and recorded but never officially released though people could download it for free, and now we have a live version and this is the first time it's officially released which works for me. People could see the new song live without a preconception of it because it's new. If I can include the audience in a truly live experience, I want to try something new. Not rants about moths, bless 'em, but a soul to progressive ideas about music and instrumentation. It's okay to play what you feel and not cut yourself off from the love you feel for the raw instrument in your hands: keys, strings, sticks on your fingertips can't be too far off and away from our spirits. The source of our faith is unknown, is it a unified electron in another dimension, space, the future, the past, Vishnu, Shiva, Jesus, God, Buddha, Allah, culture, humanity, Artificial Intelligence? Faith in the heart comes from within, even if you cannot stand it. Maybe you can't see it. The vastness of patience represents all the time aeons stacked and swaying like a tree of infinite branches in the god above god. Our thoughts gleam engraved in time not in stone, rather rings of galaxies as ebbing continuities. The song is filled with some fine transitions that tie the whole piece together. William's improv solo was meant to be reckless and verging on manic, for once. This piece will go on to evolve into more as time goes on.

Track 9: The Drip Feed (Spoken Word)
WW: This song is not on Thermospheric it is ONLY on Blu-ray and downloadable as an MP3 when you purchase the CD. The future will be a scary place, if Kurt Vonnegut did not spell out Ice 9 well enough for the inevitable derisive truth of a rising tide and global warming. Water supply for the Earth frozen at absolute zero via nanotechnology is the beginning of the end. Our future is unknown and drowning in a sea of plastic or a molten plastic sea. With the will of humans amplified into the feat of quantum mechanics and weapons of war, the future of pharmakentic regimes in the maintenance of human cultivation may go out of control and as a result we may fall short of what artificial intelligence can achieve from us. The wards of the state may settle for the cold comfort of their embryonic vessels monitored by the compudic A.I. medical assistant. The Drip Feed giveth, and the Drip Feed taketh away. The analog drone is systemic as the cultivated soul may emanate and oscillate from our coalescing unconsciousness in the virtual world. Perhaps someone or something will harness consciousness to aid in homeland securities' regulated consciousness like Orwell's warnings bled. Could the architecture of an organic brain be maintained less expensively than a terabyte processor chip matrix? Wanna find out? The Drip Feed will sooth your suffering. The ward of the state can fulfill purpose to the state, after we recalibrate your pharmacological regime to match the state's budgetary constraints. Prescribe as follows...self-fulfilling prophecy.

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