Dunedin’s dream pop originators, Cloudboy, have announced a newly remastered vinyl reissue of their 2001 album, Down at the End of the Garden. This is the first time the album is available on vinyl LP, and is out via Flying Nun Records on Record Store Day — Saturday 22nd April, 2023.
Formed in 1995, Cloudboy — a creative tangent of select members culled from nineties’ electro-pop cult group Mink — write and perform lushly orchestrated dream pop of stunning beauty and originality. The core trio of Demarnia Lloyd, Craig Monk and Johannes Contag occasionally draw in guest specialists where required. Demarnia sings, writes, sequences and samples; Johannes records, mixes and plays guitar, flute and synth fx; Craig writes orchestral arrangements and plays guitar, violin and electric piano. The result of their carefully curated lineups was an intimate, fragile vocal blended with electro-acoustic instruments, synthetic soundscapes and amplified rhythms.
"The main aim of Cloudboy was to frame Demarnia's songs and intimate voice in compelling, unusual and evocative ways. Broadcast-quality home recording was still quite new then, and one of our main instruments was the sampler; digital technology had only just become affordable to poor student musicians. Recording the album was like being in a huge playground of sonic possibilities, putting together some really unique combinations to create the lushest soundscapes we could, and trying to avoid any established rock or dance styles." — Johannes Contag
The band’s first full length release, Down at the End of the Garden, originally released on CD in April 2001 through Arclife and Loop, is a concept album tour-de-force evoking a technicolor netherworld of epic proportions. A long time in “the works” it was recorded in Dunedin and Wellington during 1997-2001. This Creative New Zealand funded album is an organic work of art that thrived in the digital domain.
PRAISE FOR 'DOWN AT THE END OF THE GARDEN'
"Imaginative pop of just-so poise with a hint of
darkness…" - Russell Baillie, NZ Herald
"Stubbornly individual and curiously beautiful; and
yet this is a pop album" - Nick Bollinger, NZ Listener
"A startlingly original avant-pop album. Nothing like this has
ever appeared from our enchanted isles." - Noel Meek, Loop
"An eclectic slice of brilliance that will be treasured
by those that possess it" - John Taite, Real Groove
On Down at the End of the Garden, Demarnia’s songs are bound together by an instrumentation ranging from the exotic (tablas, whistle, prayer bells) to the familiar (drums, bass, guitar, organ) and the traditional (violin, double bass, flute, accordion, vibraphone), with the arrangements glued together by cutting-edge soundscapes and crackling yesteryear sample loops.
"It is to me a very full album, when I hear the songs the musicianship of the band really stands out to me, and the layers, complexities, the vocal depths (added by John and Jef Mitchell) it feels like a world is hidden inside it." — Demarnia Lloyd
Alongside this album announcement, the band have shared a newly remastered video for ‘(You’re So) Pretty'; recently given new life with the help of Allan Thomasson and AI software.
Over 20 years on since the release of Down at the End of the Garden, the threads of Cloudboy continue to diverge and interweave as the various members are following their erstwhile individual paths; which is to say that the members have, at times, been spread over the globe doing their own and collaborative things, musical and non-musical.
Outside of Cloudboy, Demarnia Lloyd has released two solo mini-albums, Trace (2000) and Set Upon a Curve (2002). In 2009, she performed Dimmer’s ‘Degrees of Existence’ at the Silver Scroll Awards in Christchurch Town Hall together with a choir. Furthermore, in 2019, Demarnia composed the instrumental music for the Footnote/ChoreoCo dance collaboration Nobody Hears the Axe Fall and in 2020, she sang on a track on ‘Caucus’ by Olumpus and collaborated on the multidisciplinary Erewhon Project, which explores Samuel Butler’s 1872 utopian novel Erewhon: Over the Range. Still active in 2022, she contributed a piece to Woodenhead Reimagined, a tribute album to the 2003 movie’s original soundtrack.
Since his time spent with Cloudboy in the early 2000s, Johannes Contag has released the album Autumn as guitarist and producer of The Golden Awesome and toured the US twice with this band, which has been active since 2009. In 2013 and 2016 respectively, he wrote live orchestral accompaniments to classic silent films, The Crowd and Variety, which were presented as festival highlights in those years’ NZ International Film Festivals, and the soundtrack of the former was included on the film’s Masters of Cinema rerelease. In 2020, he joined Bill Direen and Mark Williams in the release of Ferocious, an album and series of live shows of semi-improvised noise rock. This was predated by another band with Mark Williams and with Jeff Henderson in the late 2000s, the improv lo-fi drone rock band Bad Statistics, which released two albums - the vinyl Static on Belgian label Kraak and the CD release of Lucky Town Gone on Pseudoarcana. Johannes has also released an album with Jay Clarkson in 2007, Over the Mountain.
Craig Monk credits studying North Indian classical music in the UK in the early 2010s, and playing the Heka reunion gig which restarted music at The Crown Hotel in Ōtepoti Dunedin in 2010 with reigniting his own love of performing music. Moving home to Ōtepoti in 2015, he has re-joined the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra as well as Heka, joined the Broken Heartbreakers and the Lara Rose band, collaborated with Tall Folk, John White, Phil Davison, John Gibson and dancer Matthew Smith, formed Lars Von Trio (with long-time collaborator Tenzin Mullin, and Greg Cairns) and now OMMU (with Tenzin and Jeff Harford). He enjoys a busy music life of performing, instrument teaching, music education, writing, and occasional activism.
cup of roses
tae k (playground mix)
(you're so) pretty
walk along (promenade mix)
this long underwater
no room between
Down at the End of the Garden is out via Flying Nun Records on Saturday 22nd April [Record Store Day] on limited edition transparent blue vinyl, and standard black vinyl. Vinyl pre-orders of Down at the End of the Garden will not be available; it will be “first in first served” at your local record store. Online vinyl orders will commence from Sunday 23rd April, 2023.