CLOUD OVER JUPITER
with John Shirley
Short Stories For Tall Aliens
(2019 - self released - USA)
There is clearly something heavily and emotionally involved about this sophomore release by Cloud Over Jupiter, an excellent hybrid progressive album of several styles, by Jerry King with the addition of John Shirley this time around. Some may know of King and Shirley's work together on the not too long ago "Spaceship Landing in a Cemetery" (2018), which I reviewed in Big Beautiful Noise as well.
This collaboration extends that sound quite a bit with Shirley's Peter Murphy-like voice narrating 'Six Kinds of Darkness' (track #2) and several other tunes. All the gusto and atmosphere is still intact, with surrealistic journey (as mentioned in the "Spaceship..." review), along with both heavy progressive and music as dream. It is downright provocative in places, with multi-level dimensions, it delivers a jackpot of wealth to the willing listener. At times I was reminded of early David Torn ('Cloud About Mercury) and that seems a great parallel. There is also some perfumed petals of early Gong, Steve Hillage, shades of Sabbath, and a dose of Arthur Brown's Kingdom Come. Add a distorted Eno, some celestial fireworks, and all the images from Bean, 'the wonder dog', with his cape, flying through the air saving mankind, and you have what is powering that special emotional angle from Jerry, who dedicated this album to his former best friend canine, who passed away some months ago. You can add the incredible 'Glyph' by Harold Budd and Hector Zazou, as another reference, due to Shirley's narcotic narration to other tunes. Much in the vein as that 'Spaceship Landing...' release I just mentioned.
Jerry King has been prolific over the last few years, being involved with Moon Men releases, collaborations, and this cool Cloud Over Jupiter project (I asked Jerry how the name came about and he said "the Great Red Spot swirls over Jupiter in the opposite direction that the rest of the planet rotates. So the name 'Cloud Over Jupiter' was borne from that"). He is a multi-instrumentalist who records his own solos, arranges the compositions, and has the foresight to gather the right musicians for his works. Some artists from the debut '5th Mass From The Sun' (2015) are once again on this second release, such as Pete Brown, Jamie Bruhn, Bill Jungwith, Michele King (his wife) and Mark Larson. Added to this new one are Fred Hodshon (bass), John Shirley (vocals, lyrics), Bret Hart (guitars), Dave Newhouse (horns), Chad Wardwell (synth), Walter Whitney (keyboards), and Paul Sears (drums). The collection of musicians proves to be golden on this project.
The ambrosia of styles keeps the listener keen for each graduation and lush layered song. Put any idea of quick cheap thrills out of your mind. This is a 13 (plus a bonus download only track included in your order of the physical CD) track outlay of well thought out, neatly arranged, professionally mixed and mastered music gems. It rolls from aforementioned comparisons along with Crimson, Heldon, zeuhl styles, out of bounds progressive, to a kaleidoscope of genres and intellectual property, laid down on tracks meant to make forward thinking humans smile (not from comedy, but from delight). Recommended,