30 November 2023

CLOUD NINE & VITAMIN C – Draw Down The Distance (2023, LP Cloud Nine) 




Label: Cloud Nine

Format: LP, Album, Limited Edition, Red & Black Splatter Vinyl (Hand-numbered), 250 copies

Release Date: Dec 2023

Eventually, the fullness of Time has come, and a band from the 80s is releasing its first-ever album! Cloud Nine & The Vitamin C was a German neo-psychedelic band formed in 1983 in the Rhine-Main area (in a town near Darmstadt, Heidelberg, and Mannheim), which existed in various line-ups until 1992. In the almost nine years the band existed, keyboardist and singer Dominik Engel and Mike Schröder (aka Mike Floyd) on bass guitar and vocals formed the anchor point. The guitarists changed, however, quite often as did the drummers. There have been six incarnations of the band, which started as a school band and broke up just as they were at the zenith of their creative powers, in the middle of recording a planned LP that would not be released during the band’s lifetime. 

Of course, there’s an interesting and intriguing story behind all these (a story that Mike Floyd is going to share with us on a future scheduled interview, so stay alert…) but for now, all you need to know is that because of Mike’s persistence and patience, Cloud Nine & The Vitamin C are having their debut planned LP album, released this December, after more than thirty years… 

The album was named after their masterpiece track “Draw Down The Distance”, it contains 7 tracks in total, 6 of which were recorded on 17-18 February 1992 in Bickenbach, Hessen, Germany while the 7th track “Black Queen” was recorded between May and August 1990 with a different band line-up.  

Cloud Nine & The Vitamin C in 1992 were Dominik Engel (Keyboards and vocals), Mike Schröder (Bass and vocals), Pete Hergo (Guitar, sitar on “Sunspots” and vocals), Chris A. N. Own (Drums). Also there’s a guest, Christof Köhler (Flute on “Sunspots”).

The opener “Draw Down The Distance” can be described as pure Neo-Psychedelic Rock. It starts with a short Keys intro, and soon a huge wave of Psychedelic Rock guitar-based and late 60s inspired hits you right in the face! Under a fast and frantic tempo, the band creates a dynamic, full of energy Neo-Psychedelic soundscape, diving after 4 minutes into an intoxicated sea of lysergic Acid liqueur, so hot and trippy that burns your Mynd, while after a little Prog-flirting the Psychedelic Roller Coaster speeds up again, then slowing down a bit, but the colorful Trip to Paranoia-Land continues, the slow-burning Acid guitar sound burns the last unburned cell from your brain… Majestically Trippy! “My Sunday On A Friday” is quite a Heavy track, not moving away from the psychedelic vein though… The rhythmically psychedelic “Empty And Cold” follows, a catchy tune led by electric guitar and keys, influenced by the Heavy Psych side of late 60s West Coast, with an incredible instrumental middle section of powerful drumming and Proggy (Vertigo-like) keys. Side ‘A’ closes with the more ‘grounded’ and up-to-date (1992) “It Makes No Difference”, dynamic, and rhythmic with a cool punky attitude, interesting lyrics, hot shimmering electric guitar, and some heavy keys 70s Prog-inspired filling the puzzle… Side ‘B’ opens with another amazing tune, “Black Queen” which is a heavy Psychedelic Progressive track, and despite the moody sound of this Demo version, it can blow your mind, blending Psychedelia, Progressive Rock, Space Rock, even Art Rock, while the fantastic ‘Reinnassance’ Keyboards sound steals the show (!), this is Glorious Trip-a-Delia of the early 90s… “Call” moves to the same sound ground as “It Makes No Difference”, a little more New Wave flirting, the band’s Punky attitude is clearer than ever, while I can spot some Vietnam Veterans references inside this superb song! The album comes to an end with “Sunspots”, a windy intro with a lovely Sitar sound reminiscing a late 60s Grateful Dead atmosphere, the flute adds something magical, the keys are trippy, the electric guitar follows no rules, this is a Folkie Psychedelic piece of some relaxed improvised instrumental music, ‘loose’ percussion, adventurous bass lines… After a while, the track transforms into a Magnificent Psychedelic Raga-like mind-bending anthem… Wow! What a Trip! “Draw Down The Distance” is a “must” LP, an album missing from any record library. An album that even though is 31 years old, sounds fresh and it feels like an oasis among the numerous hip “fake psychedelic” albums of today. “Draw Down The Distance” is the proof that Psychedelia/Psychedelic Rock is timeless and has No Expiration Date…   TimeLord Michalis

(Notice: The band is going to release  simultaneously a 10” EP with 4 demos from 1990, “Rainfrontier”, “Tracks Of My Tears”, “Last Night”, and “Black Queen”)


A1 Draw Down The Distance 10:06
A2 My Sunday On A Friday 3:27
A3 Empty And Cold 5:59
A4 It Makes No Difference 3:07
B1 Black Queen 9:25
B2 Call 3:36
B3 Sunspots 7:34



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