Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Ghost Ease @ Ella St. Social Club; 12.12.11

Another fine evening at the Ella St. Social Club, confirming my suspicion that this hole in the wall ex-mortuary is my new home in Portland. Both shows i have seen there have been mesmerizing, and both times i have had friendly, cooperative conversations, like real human being status. There was even eye contact!

I have my buddy Jake for getting me to this one. I was on the ropes, reeling from my non-stop ambition, fatigued and road-burned, ready to give up the ghost and listen to Lark and Termite by Jayne Anne Phillips on Audio Book and pass out instead. Jake kept me honest, true to my samurai path of musical willpower and unflagging reserves of energy. I felt better as soon as we hit the streets.

Missed the first band, got there in time to catch The Ghost Ease from right here in Multinomah County; a fair skinned young woman, dressed in black, perched atop a tom-tom drum.

Inwardly, i groaned a bit: here was yet another solo delay pedal troubadour. I feel like i've seen about fifty of them in the last two weeks. I talked myself out of a tizzy, however, calling upon my credo of journalistic integrity to realize that judging someone cuz they are using a looper pedal, is sort of like judging someone cuz they're playing the guitar: you can do a lot of different things with the instrument. It seems samples and loopers are here to stay, and it is our job to figure out how to use this new tool, and some people are doing some incredible things, truly melding with their technology to do some interesting shit.

The Ghost Ease are doing some interesting shit. She has a lovely voice, and interesting lyrics, from what i could hear. She could effortlessly harmonize with herself, and would flow into birdlike trills, to make gorgeous and harmonically interesting choral symphonies, out of thin air. She also had a pile of noisemakers around her: tambourine, maracas,bottles, even a hammer dulcimer, which she used to construct her pyramids of sound. Lastly, but not leastly, a totally unshakeable stage presence. At one point, she lost her entire arragement from her pedal. She calmly asked if we minded if she began again. Cool as a cactus, but pleasant-like also. Totally glad that my friend got me out into the Dec. evening, and he was totally stoked on it as well. Did i mention this show was free?

The piece-meal layering of live looping lends itself to a swelling, hypnotic reverie. A Samuel Taylor Coleridge Mon. night on the town. The various sonics and textures lock up and intersect, forming clockwork gears in the imagination. I began to sway and weave in my candle-lit seat, losing myself, leaving my body behind, my cares, my worries. The music eroded my workaday manic consciousness, putting me in a pleasant theta wave trance, and in this lull, this woman directly plugged her emotions, her experiences, her interior, directly into my gaping soul. This is music for whispering, music for hiding beneath the covers, in the hope that everything will be all better, upon emerging. It is psychedelic and totally, bewitchingly ethereal, but there is a human, beating heart, at the center of its maelstrom.

The Ghost Ease have three albums available, on BandCamp. I totally dig her shit.


*edit: i originally got the band name wrong, confusing The Ghosties, also from Portland, with The Ghost Ease. Necessary information has been amended, my feelings and observations on the music remain the same.

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