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Sunday, March 2, 2008

Cloud Nine & The Vitamin C - Evolution of a psychedelic Band (1)(GER.)

  • This is the first post of my little feature "EVOLUTION OF A PSYCHEDELIC BAND".
  • Listening to the 3 demos here you have the chance to witness, how the german psychedelic rock band CLOUD NINE & THE VITAMIN C of the late 80s/early 90s evolved. 

  • THE 1st DEMO: After one and a half years of rehearsing and playing some gigs in small youth clubs the band recorded its first demo, ironically called "ON THE WAY UP", in 1985 in a basement with real crude equipment. Old instruments incl. an ancient hissy echo unit, NO noise reduction, cheap microphones – well, you get the picture. But they tried their best. OK, the timing is more than horrible and the singing voice of their new singer at that time was, well ... somewhat unusual. But what the fuck...
  • The songs:  "Intro (L. B. Theme)" Right from the beginning we get some 70s sound, a riff "borrowed" from JETHRO TULL that soon changes when the old synthesizer runs amuck. The echo unit finishes everything up in a cloudy haze. – "Annemarie": a nice ballad with a somewhat mystical atmosphere, showing that they also could write proper SONGS. – "Brainstorm": the most overtly psychedelic track reminding of early PINK FLOYD or some KRAUTROCK experiments; a mixture of mini moog noises, echoed guitar and some theme reminding of  Mozart or Bach. Strange indeed! Has sadly the worst quality of all those songs. – "Stoned": reminiscent of some TEN YEARS AFTER boogie, played not very well and – "Clown": some mid-70s hard rock with a singer feeling obviously not very comfortable. (The B-Side of this demo tape has also 3 live tracks from the same year, that I will post later.)

  • The UNRELEASED 1989 DEMOS: The band now clearly has found its style – 60s psychedelic rock influenced by bands like the DOORS or PINK FLOYD with some hard rock riffs mixed in; the sound quality now is much better, and so is the overall playing. Gone is the former lead singer Markus B.
  • The songs: "Angel of Mine", a lyrically depressing fantasy story about a Lover/Angel that has to leave; musically this is a mix between Black Sabbath riffs and some Prog Rock elements, especially at the end – "Car Car" a heavily phased song (vocal part), keyboard and guitar reminding strongly of early DOORS (as do the next two songs). – "Annemarie" a much better version, though the vocals could be stronger. – "I'm Lost": The opening lines are "borrowed" from the song with the same name by unkonwn 60s garage band STYX, the rest is pure DOORS sound.
  • THE 2nd DEMO (1990): At least partly a better recording soundwise, though one has to get used to the different guitar sound by the new guitar player. Less focused than the unreleased demo; more a mixture of different sounds and influences.
  • The songs: "Black Queen": the magnus opum; one long psychedelic track with the organ very much to the front. Has a strongly phased bass solo (played like a guitar solo) in the middle. - ""Suvivor": Coming home from fighting in the war; could be about some Viet Vet or  in fact any vet. Quite monotone ("Sitting in a train"), like train rides are. The vocals are something of an acquired taste, but I love the last 3 minutes, reminding me of the "take-off" parts CNVC did in their live sets. Those free form jammings could go on for quite a long time... – "Angel of Mine": not bad, though I'm not sure if I like this version better than the other. – "Last Night" a sad love song about missed opportunities; more in a hard rock style. – "Tracks of My Tears": has some kind of a pseudo funk bass riff (remember: the band has the song title"Cloud Nine" in its name, = famous psychedelic soul song by the TEMPTATIONS), sticks in the mind somehow, and is interrupted by some boogie guitar in the middle. Nice pseudo funk wah wah! 

  • Having access to the huge band archive, I cleaned up the original tapes a little bit, did some eq-ing and "remastering", but don't expect any wonders. THIS WERE AND STILL ARE HOMEMADE LOFI RECORDINGS. But CNVC were an exceptional band in more than one way – especially at that horrible time – the 80s (when everybody else was listening to Boy George and bands like Aha...)
  • But the best recordings of CNVC were still to come – the 1992 Demos with yet another new guitar player.
CLOUD NINE & THE VITAMIN C - Demos 1985-1990
(mp3 zip, 15 songs, 101,2 MB, 72 min)
(links are dead - re-up, if requested)


Anonymous said...

Hey man,

interesting post.

I like what you're doin'!

Keeo up your good work.


mike-floyd said...

Thanks for the comment, Jorge!

It's hard doing all that, if nobody ever seems to notice...
But surely I'm not going to beg for comments like some other bloggers do on their blogs quite regulary...