Clidesfeld is a musical project founded in 2004 by Brandon Sullivan, a designer and multi-instrumentalist from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Its output spans genres from grunge- and punk-influenced alternative rock to experimental electronic music.
Conceived out of a compulsion to make music Sullivan wanted to hear, Clidesfeld carries a strict do-it-yourself ethos. Everything from a release’s initial conception to writing, production and recording — even album artwork — is handled independently by Sullivan. It’s always been a primary focus of Clidesfeld’s to maintain an anything-goes mentality and auteur-like fine tuning of each work’s sound.
When naming the project, the non-word title was chosen for its neutrality and detachment with any particular genre, giving its contributors the freedom to pursue diverse pieces without the hindrance conforming to of a specific category. In fact, the most consistent thing about Clidesfeld as a project has been its inconsistency.
In Clidesfeld’s early years, Sullivan collaborated with Benjamin Gertz and Kevin DeAngelo to flesh out and build songwriting process. The first full-length album ‘Blind Lunar Novas’ and its sharp and toothy follow-up ‘Hyperzoa’ hammered away with lo-fi aesthetics, blending influences from Placebo, Dinosaur Jr., Metallica, and Death From Above 1979.
From 2009 to 2010, Clidesfeld released three drastically different albums: the lofty, unstructured and expressive instrumental ‘ex mens mentis ab organum’, the clean crooning and distorted cackling of ‘The Carousel Room’, and an experimental electronic piece called ‘Gizmo’.
Clidesfeld saw a slow departure from DeAngelo and Gertz in 2011 due to cross-country relocations and a focus on higher education, respectively. Multi-instrumentalist Jon Prudoehl joined the project and contributed to the marriage of distorted guitars and electronics in September 2012’s ‘Fall’ and the unpolished and raw power of the Mad Hatter-esque lineup swapping in its follow-up ‘As Is’.
In 2013, Clidesfeld returned to wordless, expressive electronic music for the album ‘Hypotenuse’, released in April, just as recording began for a rock piece inspired by Dave Grohl’s keynote speech at that year’s SXSW. When ’Sigh’ was released in October that same year, Sullivan had lost over 30lbs to the rigorous recording and production schedule. As he took on other projects in the coming year, Clidesfeld released ‘4 Days’, a collection of improvisational performances featuring Sullivan and DeAngelo.
By September 2014, after nearly a year, Clidesfeld returned with ‘Atlas’, an introspective, emotional electronic piece with sections initially conceived as a soundtrack for an unrealized video series. Reinvigorated from the cathartic ‘Atlas’, production began for both of the 2015 albums ‘Clarity’ and ‘Dotted Legs’. The former features acoustic adaptations intending to draw new meaning from old songs, and the latter is a powerful meld of previous styles in alternative rock and electronics.
In the past, every album release also meant Sullivan’s sworn retirement from music, as the highly-involved nature of entirely self-produced projects would leave him too exhausted and burnt out to do it again. Until he would do it again. And again. And because of this compulsion, the project will continue to evolve and experiment, putting its DIY ethos, underground rock roots, noisy synthesizers, and tenacious energy to use in both collaborative and independently-driven releases.