Thursday, April 26, 2012
Slow Ghost "People climb out of time" on Eastern Watts Records
Eastern Watts has been up to some full lengths lately and sent "People Climb Out of Time" from Brooklyn/D.C.'s Slow Ghost, which is the solo project of Brian Szente. The Slow Ghost himself is a baritone musing of a touched character's haunting inner monologues and unsettling catchy pieces of his nightmares and/or delusions.
The first side features some huge gated sounds that have to fight through the filter to break into audible sound. It will have you questioning your equipment right away, or the pressing plant, until you slowly realize this must be part of Slow Ghosts meta plan to mess with expectations and the very format itself. As well as highlight his love for the giant slow delay and this clipped twinkling synth. Deep electronics and vocals plod along at this leisurely pace over the blips and shadowy chords along with reverse decaying piano strikes, all adding up to a smokey lounge feel. The distant piano's playing over AM radio speakers of an old rusted animatron working for tips. Layers of unbalanced voices piling up over themselves... long droning tones of mechanics under SG's warm, smooth, Zack Condon style vocal full of a natural ability...completely interested in this contrast of what's happening in the canned quick rhythm loops and reverse delay which is quickly becoming the primary instrumentation on the whole album.
But People Climb... also explores the slightly harsher areas of this hypnotic sound he's been working so hard to create in his giant studio with a foreign delay, the catharsis has been waiting until you're just about to nod off. Samples of television programs... (when you could pick them out of the air....imagine that!) becoming a more frantic and disjointed marriage of Aphex Twin and Jens Lekman...you can bet that's not going to last.
B-Side's , "Vitamin B, Vitamin Blood" continues this erratic thread with this slow kind of laid back delivery of baritone which has the treble eq'd right out of it. It always feels like Slow Ghost is trying to seduce you in this creepy way. You know it's wrong, but I'll keep listening, there's something more than just singing going on here.
It's a precise thought out persona at home with his complete style bringing to mind Mattress who's low Cramps vibratto with even more minimal instrumentation can be as compelling. Slow Ghost can also have this folky, storytelling vibe with the smoothness of Philip Moore from the Bowerbirds, coming from a far more abstract and darker place. Look at that cover... every shade of marker and imagery running together...this emotionally intimate character laying it all out for you, in a huge abstract codex.
"Let the hounds out" is again snapping you out of that drowsy voiceover... he's saying 'I can still get eerie with vocal loops and low end organ and layers of decay.'
'This can be a nightmare, but I'm choosing not to let it get too scary, (except I can't help but go there naturally....i.e. 'let the hounds out'). I build up the synth, odd samples and off key chords to full release.'
"Pink Talons"ends this full length with crazy record hiss and pops with a haze of snippets of looping chimes or synth, now he's playing with the vinyl medium itself and bringing you into the madness...check the needle on this one, he could be really fucking with you, and he is. Slow Ghost doesn't ever let things get too comfortable, working in between an ambient glitch electronic with it's own internal rhythm and a future cabaret...he's a modern crooner coming back in bits and pieces like Max Headroom, a transmission from another planet... somewhere ancient and wearing the degradation of falling apart. A funny irreverent artifact.
Big 11x17 color slick poster insert of Slow Ghosts visual work: markers in a doodling madman daniel Johnston style.... almost wish this one was the cover.
Great review over at Agit Reader.
Check out a demo from his soundcloud: