Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Cloud Seeding Mixes Wilding And Serra

Alexa Wilding by Sonja Georgevich
Guitarist Kevin Serra has always taken the road less traveled. He helped found the gothic-ethereal band This Ascension under the early private label Tess Records in the late 1980s. He then moved to New York City to study guitar with Richard Lloyd of the NYC band Television. And then he started the indie review site Kevcino just so he could drop an occasional review in between side projects.

One of his best known projects is Cloud Seeding, a collaborative singles collection that he conceived to showcase vocalists he admires. There aren't many singles in the collection, but those he has put out since 2011 have been well received. They include Kris English, Nadine Carina, Greg Hatem, and Marissa Nadler, who just recently released her sixth solo album July (give Was It A Dream a listen).

Nadler, in fact, was the first he recorded and released. The pair had met through Kevcino when Nadler was living in Brooklyn and still going through some considerable life changes. He was always supportive of her music and she was glad to have him as a friend in an otherwise lonely city.

Mirage brings the Alexa Wilding collaboration into the fold. 

Serra was initially introduced to Alexa Wilding through her darkly visual videos Black Diamond Sky from her debut and Knife from Coral Dust. Sometimes described as a neo-Stevie Nicks, Wilding is a distinctive singer-songwriter who had recently taken a break for the birth of her twins.

When Serra asked her about working together, she was anxious to get started. In addition to the lyrics, Wilding asked her long-time engineer, Murray Trider at Ground Control Studios in South Williamburg, to mix and master it. Her bandmate, Jared Barron, also added percussion to the track.

"I was immediately drawn to Kevin's music," Wilding says, "the skeletal instrumentals he sent me reminded me of Hal Hartley's soundtracks, only grittier. They had a dark and cinematic nostalgia to them that got me writing right away."

The track, Mirage, showcases Wilding one off from her solo albums, lending something infinitely more spacious to her sound. She says it pushed her sonically, which has always been part of the project's vision.

In this case, she says it all came together as a road song of sorts, with Serra lending an atmospheric Western ramble to an otherwise sharp and airy alternative pop-rock composition. It makes an excellent stopover for the talented noir-folk singer and new mother.

Along with Mirage, Cloud Seeding has a growing singles catalog worth checking out. While the project was somewhat slow to start, a new partnership with Bleek Records promises to help Serra cut new ground. Several of the artists that have collaborated with him are signed with Bleek Records.

A couple more graphs about other Cloud Seeding releases.

A few standouts include Serra's recent work with Chicago-based Kris English to produce RaVe, the brilliantly spacey slow rocker The Light with Leeds-based Nadine Carina, and the oddly cryptic Newer Testament with Greg Hatem. He also produced two singles with Nadler, who largely seems to have been partially responsible for inspiring the project. She did her work impromptu.

Another track, although impossibly harder to find is Three, which Serra recorded with Sara Syms. According to Bleek Records, the psychedelic track (the B-side to the instrumental Tryptofin) was included on the Book One compilation released by the Otherworldly Mystics cassette label in the summer of 2013.

Mirage By Cloud Seeding Vanishes At 6.1 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale. 

As one of the strongest additions to the Cloud Seeding collection, Mirage makes a compelling case to open up the back catalog and sample everything again. While the collaborations have been generally too far and few between, news that Serra has already lined up more artists seems very promising for the collection to earn some well-deserved attention.

You can find Mirage by Cloud Seeding on iTunes. Mirage (feat. Alexa Wilding) is also on Amazon. You can find project updates from time to time on the Cloud Seeding Facebook page. Several tracks have video teasers of the work. You can also hear Trytofin here (but not Three).
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