On Ed Sykes and the Sonic Oscillators Little Black Cloud
With a touch of Siouxie and the Banshee’s guitar from Producer Nathan Wacey,
Ed Sykes latest sonics nimbly oscillate music’s past, and much of its future too
As this imperfect pop contains spaces in which hope and desire colour and calm
Circumstance. This is a joyous song sourced by dark but with a mystic frequency
Charging through it; the one Brian Barritt first broadcast and caught and passed on:
A summoning of lost things which this special melody masters, complete with a lyric
That stormclouds desire and turns weather itself into song. Sykes’ smooth baritone
And goth/punk glare fuses challenge as he croons to move and persuades you
To slip slowly within the cloud’s shade. The Sonic Oscillators lock tight to provide
Aural shelter as Sykes’ keyboards and glockenspiel begins speaking of all of the ways
Fate is made. The song trips along. It crests, it curves. Its sound kisses. It sways , yes,
With male swagger, but with a sweetness, too, as Sykes sings. It is a call to arms,
A sound fall, and a cloud soothed slide down the mountain as Wacey’s staccato
String strikes sound joyous beside Phil Jackson’s bright piano, Aaron Sly’s bowed bass,
And Jon Quin’s drums, each note swings. As the chorus kicks in ‘My little black cloud
That’s hanging around..’ offers promise. Or, if not that celebration, as this stain
On the sky brings fresh sun onto the street and the beach and the girl in the promo,
Smiling for Sykes singing to her; this storm like serenade’s set to stun. The chords
Crash like waves on love’s shore then ripple away into reverb before the verse’s
Clarity claims us and we are once more returned to the place where thoughts
And flesh chase the most elusive of moments and the sensations most cry for
Become the best make of mask for each face. ‘Show me the ropes/You’ll burn
your hands/Each word that you speak / Its tearing leaves from every branch..
The verse curls but is then quickly shattered as an explosive bridge breaks
Before us and we careen down to sound’s sea. In the promo Sykes stabs
At the air as the images grow more destructive. He warns that ‘Relationships
Are sinking ships’ as the little black cloud begins swelling, warping wind
And love’s strange weather and make the cup full and flowing, as the worst
Kind of storm whirlpools tea. The song is a symphony slid through a series
Of darkened movements, from Brian Barritt, Syd Barrett, to Water’s controlled
Heart of the Sun; ritual. Sykes control is supreme, as Wacey’s guitars roar
And riot, and suddenly its Sun Sultans, or Branca and Fred Frith’s string
Sauced victuals. The Little Black Cloud covers all. Koyanniqatsi-ing land
As it does so. Sykes’ self directed video, filmed by DOP Maryann Morris
Also captures the times and the tales it contains. So, from the psychedelic
To Sykes and from home to heart movie, this is a song in which climate
And chorus and call resolve pain. Which does not mean heal.
For who can say where need takes us. But in this, their new single
Sykes and the Sonic Oscillators astound us. Watch that deep dark cloud
Bruise above you. When it bleeds you’ll feel fire and fathom and charge
And soul gain. Here’s to more songs like this. All hail such warnings.
As the Sykeic call cures us, we will rise and recover and then, no surprises,
We will want the fucking whole thing again.
David Erdos March 9th 2021
Press Release 03/03/21
Ed Sykes And The Sonic Oscillators
The second single release from Ed Sykes and The Sonic Oscillators ‘My Little Black Cloud’ on Co6 Records is far from little. In keeping with its title ‘My Little Black Cloud’ throws a large shadow over a vast amount of musical ground. The main behavioural similarities to its predecessor ‘I’m Forever Losing You’ is how the restless nature of this piece fearlessly defies genres and pigeon holes. From its spooky childlike opening signature melody we are reminded of pop songs that used to wear looking glass ties and where perhaps something delightfully Lewis Carol is about to happen.
‘My Little Black Cloud’ lulls the listener into a psychedelic soul/ pop odyssey before it shamelessly skinny dips into a temple of a chorus that is way more orchestral than it is anything rock related. Intermission!! mid-way this track hits upon a glam stomping Supremes that, once the fuzz and ice cream van stops it kicks the listener out of the van at some kind of open air ceremonial ‘freak out’. Perhaps the most recent musical reference points for the insane voodoo rhythms of the hypnotic closing section of ‘My Little Black Cloud’ could be cited somewhere between Southern Death Cult and Siouxsie and the Banshees Budgie doing a solo as ‘My Little Black Cloud’ with it’s Tom Tom driven energy, shares a similar tribal drive of those times yet, this sounds like it could be set in some Moroccan marketplace anytime now!
Ed Sykes describes this song himself as ‘a big dramatic painting like Rembrandts Belshazzar’s Feast with all its drama and darkness’. It has been reported that ‘something happens’ when this song is played live. Maybe it’s the ancient and mystical healing properties of the 111hz frequency that unintentionally inhabits this song that makes you wonder by the end if your drink been has been spiked? Whatever it is ‘My Little Black Cloud’ is celebratory and an extremely ambitious affair. The song was recorded onto a vintage 3M Tape machine for true analogue sound and processing. ‘My Little Black Cloud’ jumps daringly from its
pop climbing frame and takes you somewhere more ‘spiritual retreat’ with lots of funky bark juice. No Sting honking up in a rain forest here because the substance was too strong. No. Think ‘three bits no chips’. Think rush goalies. Just make sure you take a packed lunch and, Alabama fish paste?
Ed Sykes: Vocals – Glock – Keyboards – Percussion
Nathan Wacey: Guitars
Aaron Sly: Bass – Bowed Double Bass – Backing Vocals
Jon Quin: Drums – Percussion – Backing Vocals
Phil Jackson: Piano
Produced by Nathan Wacey. Recorded at Rebellion Studios Marks Tey.