Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Hungry Ghosts - Self Titled
The reason i started J's Heaven, in the first place, was to shed the light on maybe some older or more obscure musicks that there's no way to promote, otherwise. Most 'official publications' only want reviews of albums released that year, at best, and dusty slabs of inspiration from the past get swept under the rug, unless they get re-issued or somebody dies.
For me, it all boiled down to THE ALBUM, using the format of an album review as some pagan invocation to transmit flashing passion from my brain pan to yrs. You see, i have a curious mind. You might almost call it Faustian (lord knows it'll damn my soul, one of these days) and i seem to have no choice but to continue to unearth new gems. Most of the time, its doing research for my own music, listening with open ears and an open mind. So its all been very convoluted, with multiple motivations occurring simultaneously. Mostly, it is to take a sliver of my mind, my life, remove the setting and place it in the ether, for other travellers to stop and bask and rest for a moment. I take these mornings of French jazz and harsh noise, and i give them to you. There is magick happening, all around you. Inspiration, illumination... this music has been the soundtrack to my evolution. It has made me a happier person, even if i have had to walk down a hallway of daggers to get there.
Hungry Ghosts has been my favorite recent discovery of the month (although its more like last month, i've been out of town for a bit) so i basically just picked this one to start, before delving into some ambitious shit i've got in mind. Hungry Ghosts are from Australia, and it was primarily the work of one J. P. Shilo, who's gone on to do some pretty high profile collaborations and film soundtrack work. This is their debut LP, recorded with Rowland S. Howard (of The Birthday Party/Crime and the City Solution fame). Its an LP of evocative spectral noir, music for dark night of the soul. This is Doom Jazz if it were played out at the Moulin Rouge, there seems to be a Parisian hint to these desert landscapes, what with the accordion and fiddle and whatnot. They sound a lot like Earth, in their dense desert-y guitars and mournful cello, but mixed with Kiliminjaro Darkjazz Ensemble playing Debussy covers. This is post-rock, before it got pigeonholed into a cliche, mixing elements of jazz classical and movie scores into a colorful tapestry that will unravel behind yr eyes like a wormhole, like a depth charge.
And that's the thing: this is classic music. Timeless. It came out in 1999, but its new to me, and i'm pretty sure there's bound to be some folks out there that haven't heard this one yet. The instruments are gloriously, glowingly recorded by Howard. The guitars tremble like starving pilgrims, and the keyboards shiver like moonlight on a frosted windshield. The violins are weeping for the lost, but the accordion saws away like Nero. I am quite convinced that this music will make you a better person. To watch a rock band churning out psychedelic chamber music is awesome to behold, the way all the different instruments weave around one another, silken and sinuous. This band truly were at the peak of their powers! If you dig the Western melodrama of The Dirty Three, this one's up yr alley, or even good ol' psych rock like Bardo Pond. There is not one mis-placed note, and it just gets better with repeat listenings. This may become an old friend, a new favorite. It has for me. Let it be the soundtrack to yr late summer, wherever you are.
JP Shilo's been re-issuing some of the Hungry Ghosts stuff on Bandcamp, and has been releasing some new stuff as well, so i'd advocate supporting this extremely talented musician.