Of the eight records Live Skull released throughout the 1980s, ‘Cloud One’ is probably the one most often cited as the definitive Live Skull album. This was the record that fine tuned the band’s sound, transforming the polarizing power of the original No Wave into music that got under your skin and stayed there. A tightly-knit collection of songs and anti-songs years ahead of its time, ‘Cloud One’s chaos-scrambled hooks were a direct influence on the later breakthrough projects of Sonic Youth and Swans, Live Skull’s co-conspirators in the so-called “noise scene” that emerged out of New York City in those years.
‘Cloud One’ captures Live Skull at a creative peak, with the band generating a profusion of arresting sounds and ideas via the most basic rock and roll vocabulary: bass, drums and two traditionally tuned guitars. The resulting record, an inexplicably seductive song cycle that filters art through the nasty mood swings of rock, was something radically new for 1986. Nearly thirty years on, ‘Cloud One’ remains a transcendent musical hybrid as mysterious as it is memorable.
Reviewing ‘Cloud One’ upon its 1986 release, Forced Exposure called the album “Live Skull’s densest and most orgasmic disc yet,” while Melody Maker UK declared, “Live Skull willfully derange and disengage conventional pop structures, harmonies and rhythms, preferring instead to exert a vice-like grip of droning guitars around the heart of the beast. It’s an awesome racket.”
Acclaim for the album has continued through the years, with online source shockofDAYLIGHT describing Live Skull’s magnum opus as “Primo scary artnoise from the epicenter. The band’s album happens to be their best and most focused. Right as you’re trying to make sense of the bafflingly hot n’ pre-apocalyptic cover art, you get walloped by one of the best opening tracks in rock history. I have a hunch that bands like Fugazi, Unwound and Halcion got their entire careers from this album.”
Finally reissued after nearly three decades out of print, ‘Cloud One’ is now available on limited edition vinyl and (for the first time ever) on CD, complete with a lavish booklet including extensive liner notes by founding members Tom Paine and Mark C, and eight extremely rare bonus tracks. This is the third release in Desire Records’ Live Skull project, an ambitious eight-title series of reissues of the entire Live Skull catalogue, personally overseen by Mark C and Tom Paine.
8 bonus tracks – 24 pages booklet with rare and unseen pics and extensive liner notes by band members Tom Paine and Mark C.