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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    A good kind of cult

    Minneapolis multi-genre band Cloud Cult is playing Solar Culture tonight at 9 p.m. The bands music varies from rock to folk to electronic, with the latest album, The Meaning of 8, taking a symphonic perspective.
    Minneapolis multi-genre band Cloud Cult is playing Solar Culture tonight at 9 p.m. The band’s music varies from rock to folk to electronic, with the latest album, The Meaning of 8, taking a symphonic perspective.

    Pitchfork Media has called Cloud Cult’s music “”insane genius.”” The Village Voice praised the band as “”Modest Mouse on lithium.””

    Singer, songwriter and guitarist Craig Minowa takes it all in stride, though.

    “”We’re thankful for it but I would never let myself be accessed wholly and completely by a reviewer,”” Minowa said.

    Even though the band has been given all of kinds of flattersing for its profound and complex music, it looks as though the members have it all in perspective. Luckily, Cloud Cult is coming to Tucson on Saturday. And it’s only eight bucks for a ticket! For such a uniquely philosophical band like this, that’s a steal.

    The group has many different influences – the sound within each album as well as from album to album are quite diverse.

    “”Any given album can vary wildly from folk, to symphonic to electronic. The influences really range a lot,”” Minowa said

    Minowa said he grew up listening to the band Art of Noise, which he describes as sound sculpture music that uses sound as an art form that influences his songwriting.

    “”Art of Noise messed around with taking different sounds and sculpting it into music,”” Minowa said. “”Taking blips of sound and making something that had a different audio texture to it.””

    Minowa compared the sound of Art of Noise to the sound of a typical four-piece rock band, to a realistic painting versus an abstract painting.

    Minowa said when he listens to music lately it’s not college indie rock because he’s inundated with that type of music. The Meaning of 8, the band’s latest album, comes from more of a symphonic perspective. Included in the new album are more orchestral instruments like flute, clarinet, horn and strings.

    “”Part of the upbeat and celebratory feel might come from the fact that I’m really into big band music and music from the ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s – a Norman Rockwell feel of really upbeat and idealistic music on a lyrical level,”” Minowa said.

    Cloud Cult tends to put as many as 25 tracks on its albums and definitely does not stick to the typical 12-track model many other artists use.

    “”For any given album there’s anywhere from 40-100 songs written and then we sift through those to decide whats going to be on the album,”” Minowa said. “”CDs hold as much as 72 minutes of music. Why have blank space on the CD? Might as well use it. It’s like selling a painting to someone where half the canvas isn’t used.””

    In terms of the feel of the album, like past albums, Minowa said much of the music is inspired by the loss of his 2-year-old son in 2002. But The Meaning of 8 has a happier, more optimistic side in dealing with loss.

    “”There’s definitely an overriding theme, as far as a direct focus on mortality and the hereafter,”” Minowa said. “”For me music is a really sacred art form. It’s my best medicine. When I’m in the writing phase I’m also in a healing phase. I try to use music as a lens to understand the universe a little bit better.””

    The Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead was one philosophy on death that inspired Minowa.

    “”This album gets to the point where we can celebrate the hereafter and the spirits on the other side,”” Minowa said. “”The album is philosophical and dealt with the Day of the Dead. The people down there (in Mexico) feel that the spirits of the dead are walking with the dead. Everyone’s so happy; it’s different from the U.S.””

    Minowa also said you have to take the good with the bad in being an independent rock band.

    “”You have to do all the work yourself,”” Minowa said. “”It’s so much more work than I would have ever imagined. It’s insane how much work it is.””

    “”We’re in control of everything, how we feel it needs to be done. There’s no way I would be on a label right now.””

    One of those liberties the band has is to have all its CDs made from recycled materials. Minowa’s home studio is also geothermally powered.

    “”We feel like it’s the right thing to do,”” Minowa said. “”I went to school for environmental science and I’ve been involved in the environmental science arena for over a decade. It just makes sense to follow the same creed you’re trying to push on others.””

    Cloud Cult is playing for all ages at Solar Culture, 31 E. Toole Ave., at 9 p.m. Tickets are $8.

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