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November 18 2016 \\ James Johnston - The Starless Room (LP, CD)

On November 18th 2016 the German independent record label Clouds Hill released worldwide James Johnston’s debut solo album The Starless Room

The Starless Room - The results are a revelation, and not just for James Johnston. Vast in its scope, visceral, intimate and instinctive – 
“I just followed whatever triggered an emotional response in me.” 
The Starless Room represents a remarkable distillation of both his lyrical obsessions and prodigious, arguably under-acknowledged talent. Suitably, it’s the title track that encapsulates the romantic sweep of the record best, with its star at his most intense and Sebastian Hoffman’s string arrangements at their most ambitious. For James Johnston, however, the greatest pleasure of all is a simple one: the songs’ slow tempos, “Something I adore, like a lot of the Isaac Hayes or Ray Charles albums that I love. It almost feels like I’m listening to someone else’s record.”
But it’s not. It’s James Johnston’s debut solo album, The Starless Room. Like he said, it feels just right. 

As well as playing with Gallon Drunk, James Johnston has spent considerable time working with others: A mid 90s spell as a touring guitarist in The Bad Seeds led to a full role in Nick Cave’s band between 2003 and 2008, and he’s performed regularly with other iconic acts, including Lydia Lunch, Faust, and, currently, PJ Harvey, on whose The Hope Six Demolition Project Johnston appears. But if it sounds like he’s softened on this album, he argues powerfully otherwise.
“The band’s records have quite an earthy feel, but in a way this is rawer, more focused and direct, musically and emotionally. The last Gallon Drunk record‘s my favourite, and it was certain elements of that which I really wanted to take further, to strip away the dissonance and anger, to reject the more familiar sounds in order to free it all up again. So the instrumentation is very different, led by piano and voice, and the overall sound is lush yet intimate. Overall it’s far more reflective of me, both as a person and the sort of music I actually listen to.” 

"When The Wolf Calls" was filmed during the Clouds Hill Festival in December 2015, when James Johnston had just started recording with producer Johann Scheerer.

May 01 2016 \\ The Clouds Hill ECHO is ready for pre-orders

Serial # 002 - 009 will ship from May 01 2016 onwards. You can pre-order now for €1,999.00
All units are assembled by hand. Printed circuit boards are populated by Nick Baginsky at NB-Instrument. After he put them all together, fine tuned and tested them acoustically and mechanically all these units are individually tested by Clouds Hill Recordings owner Johann Scheerer and guitarist Sebastian Nagel in the studio. You will get a beautiful screen printed and hand numbered packaging including a 4 page manual. First come - first serve.

Serial # 010 - 030 will ship from July tbc 2016 onwards. You can pre-order now for €1,499.00
We will have to modify some production flows and see if we can hand over some production steps to a manufacturer who will be able to put everything together much quicker then we would be.We will obviously test them, too. But it will take a while since they become available to you! Packaging will be the same. All hand numbered with manual.

General info:
ECHO - Clouds Hill Floppy Disc Delay is a one of a kind analogue echo driven by a 3.5” diskette; a purely analogue, flexible and magnetic storage medium also known as a floppy disc. It is currently the only commercially available echo that uses this technology. The signal is written to the disc by a magnetising record head and replayed/erased by two reproduction heads and one erase head. The floppy disc is driven by a digital drive system 12VDC motor that runs with variable stabilised speed and additional foot pedal control or C/V gate control.

Unlike the common bucket brigade delays or tape echoes, the sound of the ECHO - Clouds Hill Floppy Disc Delay is much more radical. It is an extremely versatile unit, capable of a wide variety of unique effects. With it, you will be able to realise uncompromising start and stop sounds as well as swirling and warm atmospheric sounds. Featuring expanded control voltage (C/V) capabilities that allow for interactions beyond the simple stacking of effects,ECHO can be controlled by other C/V capable devices. The motor and its four operation modes can also be controlled by a regular expression pedal.

Clouds Hill Echo:
- The Clouds Hill Echo is a one of a kind analog echo.
- The first and yet only echo driven by a diskette.
- The Echo is generated by a 3.5“ diskette. A purely analog, flexible and magnetic storage medium also known as Floppy Disc.
- The signal is written on the disc by a magnetising record head and replayed/erased by two reproduction heads and one erase head of a cassette player.
- The Floppy Disc is driven by a Digital Drive System tape deck motor that runs with 12VDC - variable stabilised speed with additional foot pedal control or cv/gate control.

April 16 2016 \\ Peter Doherty & James Johnston (Double A side 12”)

On April 16th 2016 the German independent record label Clouds Hill will release a split double A side 12” as part of the worldwide ‘Record Store Day’. The release will feature the UK artists: Peter Doherty & James Johnston. The 12” is limited to 1,200 units worldwide. Both live recordings from Peter Doherty and James Johnston were recorded at the Clouds Hill Festival in December 2015. The annual festival is held at the world renowned Clouds Hill Recordings studios in Hamburg-Rothenburgsort (www.cloudshillrecordings.com).

a1. The Whole World Is Our Playground
Produced by Johann Scheerer. Engineered, recorded onto 8 track magnetic tape and mixed by Johann Scheerer at Clouds Hill Recordings, Hamburg-Rothenburgsort.

a2. The Whole World Is Our Playground (performed live & acoustic)
Performed live at Clouds Hill Festival 2015.
Recorded live onto 8 track magnetic tape by Mark Schettler.
Mixed by Sebastian Muxfeldt.
Exclusive track.

aa1. Dark Water
Produced by Johann Scheerer.
Produced by Johann Scheerer. Engineered and recorded onto 8 track magnetic tape by Johann Scheerer and Linda Gerdes. Mixed by Johann Scheerer at Clouds Hill Recordings, Hamburg-Rothenburgsort.

aa2. St. Martha's (performed live)
Performed live at Clouds Hill Festival 2015.
Recorded onto 8 track magnetic tape by Linda Gerdes and Johann Scheerer.
Mixed by Linda Gerdes.
Exclusive track.

All mastered by Chris v. Rautenkranz at Soundgarden (Hamburg-Rotenburgsort)

April 15 2016 \\ The Hillbilly Moon Explosion - With Monsters And Gods (LP, CD)

Die Band mit über 7 Millionen YouTube Klicks . . .
Am 15.04.2016 hat Clouds Hill das vierte Album von The Hillbilly Moon Explosion mit dem Titel ’With Monsters And Gods’ veröffentlicht.

Drei Jahre nach ihrem letzten Album ’Damn Right Honey’ veröffentlichen The Hillbilly Moon Explosion am 02.09.2016 ihr neues Album ’With Monsters And Gods’. Drei Jahre in denen die Straßen Europas LIVE bereist wurden und drei Jahre in denen neue Songs geschrieben wurden.

Selbstverständlich hat sich auch ein Ehrengast, Mark ’Sparky’ Phillips, Frontman von Demented Are Go! die Ehre gegeben. Im Duett mit Emanuela ist er bei dem Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazelwood Klassiker ’Jackson’, sowie die Backing Vocals bei ’Black Ghost’ dabei. Genau! Das ist derselbe Sparky, der die Band schon bei ’My Love For Evermore’ unterstütze, welches bis heute über 7 Millionen YouTube Klicks erreichen konnte. Unbedingt Einzigartig ist auch ’Call Me’, das Blondie Cover von 1980, die erste Single aus dem neuem Album.

The Hillbilly Moon Explosion sind eine laute paneuropäische Rock‘n’Roll Band mit Blutrausch-Charakter und einer schnell wachsenden Fanbase. Angeführt von der Schweiz-Italienerin Emanuela Hutter, dem englischen Sänger & Slap Bassisten Oliver Baroni, und gekonnt unterstützt von dem englischen Gitarristen Duncan James sowie dem Neuzugang der Band Drummer Sylvain Petite.

Aus der Rockabilly Szene ihrer Wahlheimat Zürich entstanden, lehnten sie die Einladung zur Teilnahme am ’European Song Contest’ für die Schweiz ab. Bekannt wurden The Hillbilly Moon ExplosionN damals durch ihren Hit ’Johnny Are You Gay?’ und lieber tourten sie durch Europa, traten im TV auf und supporteten Jeff Beck auf seiner Europa-Tour.

’With Monsters And Gods‘ ist das vierte Studioalbum der Band; ein Cocktail aus lautem Rockabilly, purem Rock‘n’Roll, tätowiertem Rhythm & Blues & schizophrenen 50’er Blues.

Zum Glück endlich mal anspruchsvolle Musik-Kultur aus der Schweiz und nicht nur DJ Bobo. Manchmal ist Zürich nicht nur spießig & teuer, sondern auch ein kleines New Orleans! Maul halten und zuhören. Wir raten mit ’With Monsters And Gods‘: Let's buy some booze, go downtown and get tattoos . . .