Thursday, February 08, 2007

Cloud Cult

The environmentally conscious Cloud Cult began in the early '90s in Minneapolis, MN, as a solo project for Craig Minowa, who at the time was pursuing a degree in environmental science while shining shoes and driving an ice cream truck, among other jobs. In 1995, Minowa spent the year recording The Shade Project, which included sounds produced by buckets, pans, and couch cushions. In early 2000, he followed up with Who Killed Puck? After the birth of his son, Minowa kept Cloud Cult as a studio project, with the next two years focusing on family, recording, writing grants, and working as an environmental activist. He also formed Earthology Records on his organic farm, powered by geothermal energy and built partially from reclaimed wood and recycled plastic.

With the sudden death of his son in February 2002, Minowa became reclusive while writing a large volume of songs. They Live on the Sun eventually was finished in 2003 and featured cellist Sarah Young and drummer Dan Greenwood, who became permanent members of Cloud Cult. In January 2004, Cloud Cult added Mara Stemm on bass and released Aurora Borealis just six months later. For the supporting tour, shows began to include live painters (including Minowa's wife), performance artists, back-screen video, and nonprofit environmental tabling organizations. Yet another Cloud Cult album came in the summer of 2004, titled Lost Songs from the Lost Years, a ten-year anthology of previously unreleased work from Minowa. Advice from the Happy Hippopotamus was released June 2005 with the full live band now consisting of Minowa (vocals, guitar, keyboard), Greenwood (drums), Young (cello, keyboard), and Matthew Freed (bass, keyboard, percussion).

Cloud Cult is preparing to launch "The Meaning of 8" on April 10, 2007 supported by a two month U.S. tour.Cloud Cult’s last album, "Advice from the Happy Hippopotamus", debuted on North America’s college radio charts at #3 (Most Adds) just under Cold Play and White Stripes.

Cloud Cult’s unique sound has been called “insane genius” by Pitchforkmedia and has been compared to Modest Mouse, Flaming Lips, Neutral Milk Hotel and Beck. Cloud Cult’s live shows include elaborate theatrics that include live painters on stage, live video projection of audience and band, and back screen video. The live band includes cello, violin, trumpet, flute and percussion, along with the more standard guitar, bass, keys and drums line-up.

On top of all of this, Cloud Cult has rejected major label record offers in favor of staying independent, so the band can do everything as environmentally friendly as possible. This includes making every concert “green” by purchasing green energy credits to pump wind power into the grid to compensate for energy used on stage and in travel. The band’s self-founded record label, Earthology Records, has been covered in major media everywhere from National Public Radio to the New York Times as “the world’s most environmentally friendly not-for-profit record label.” Highly Recommended!

Cloud Cult - Fairy Tales (from They Live On The Sun)
Cloud Cult - Breakfast With My Shadow (from Aurora Borealis)
Cloud Cult - Outside of Your Skin (from Advice from The Happy Hippopotamus)
Cloud Cult - Car Crash (from Advice from The Happy Hippopotamus)
Cloud Cult - Chemicals Collide (from The Meaning Of 8)
Cloud Cult @ MySpace

Cloud Cult - Chemicals Collide

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