Ghost Ensemble’s debut album is here! Order now on LP or digital download.
Praise for We Who Walk Again:
“The Macklay piece, inspired by kaleidoscope patterns, oscillates between brief, rhythmically oriented kernels and somewhat stretched-out sequences, the tones in the latter engagingly sour, especially the multiphonics and microtones from the oboe. There’s a certain wry playfulness to it — at times it reminded me of a calliope — and an interesting mix of modern techniques within a structure that retains an amount of classicalness. It might fit comfortably into a Bang On a Can program, but it’s better than that.
Oliveros’s Angels & Demons is a text score, asking the ensemble to evoke “collective guardian spirits” (angels) and “individual spirits of creative genius” (demons) … Low, growling bass attacks help ground the long, floating lines above; soil and mist. Very fine ensemble playing — excellent listening to one another.
The Richter work occupies Side B. A cloudy, mysterious and dark opening, low rumbles and moans with the odd sharp glint through the shadows. It throbs, pulsates, moves inch by inch, Beckettian in its slow spread. Some wonderful tonalities are generated in the shifting lines of varying lengths, the interplay of those deep tones with the soft plucking of the harp and an occasional hesitant but steady, dull beat of a drum. Matters begin to coalesce toward the end, dense lines forming, surging off into the hazy dark, perhaps offering just a bit more direction than was apparent at the start; not a light at the end of a tunnel, but maybe the faintest of glimmers. A very strong piece, my favorite on this recording.
Very good work all around, certainly a group to keep an eye on.”
— Brian Olewnick, Just Outside (read more here)
“Since its inception Ghost Ensemble has been associated with Oliveros’ work … it is fitting that We Who Walk Again, their debut recording, features the first studio recording of the Oliveros piece Angels and Demons … Starting in the Feldman realm of spare pianissimo fragments, a long range crescendo shapes the piece … enabled by successively more penetrating held pitches, extended techniques, syncopated percussion, and an eventual blossoming of rangy melodic gestures …
The group’s oboist Sky Macklay is also a composer on the rise … Macklay’s 60 Degree Mirrors revels in the extended techniques available to winds. Her command of multiphonics and microtones on the oboe is prodigious … The piece also has spectral roots, with shimmering overtones, particularly “crunchy” upper partials, demonstrating an edgier side of the “deep listening” continuum. 60 Degree Mirrors is not just technically sophisticated; it has considerable dramatic heft and proves to be a thrilling listen.
Ghost Ensemble’s founder, accordionist and composer Ben Richter, provides the recording’s other piece, Wind People … it affords the group the opportunity to stretch out and engage in the shaping of a larger arc. Long glissandos played by bassist James Ilgenfritz provide a particularly resonant touchstone, and similar sliding tones from violist Hannah Levinson and cellist Maria Hadge underscore its structural character. Meanwhile, the winds explore all manner of overtones, sometimes punctuating the proceedings with held pitches appearing in contrast to the yawning slides, at others engaging in pitch bends of their own. Percussionist Chris Nappi provides under-girding drums, subtle yet insistent … Over time, sustain becomes a powerful force traversing all instruments and registers, and sumptuous overtone chords saturate the work. A coda provides a long diminuendo in which overtones fade into thrumming drums, drones, and string glissandos. Wind People is a well-crafted and eloquent work …
Richter says that he sought to “draw a sense of peace and comfort from our smallness, transience, and fragility in the face of an overwhelming immensity, the music mirroring the constant ebb and flow visible when zooming in or out to quantum or geological time.” Amid today’s tumult, drawing peace and comfort from deep listening is a worthy goal, one that Ghost Ensemble appears poised to attain often.”
— Christian Carey, Sequenza21 (read more here)
“Ghost Ensemble do a pretty admirable job … three compositions, two by members of the group and one by famed John Cage contemporary Pauline Oliveros, roar and overtake you … Best of all it all sounds quite fresh … there’s a spark here that seems to have been missing from some of the experimental music I’ve had the at times (dis)pleasure of hearing.”
— Christopher Stigliano, Blog to Comm (read more here)
We’re thrilled to be in California this month for our first-ever West Coast concert series presenting an ambitious program of experimental music centered around our new album, We Who Walk Again. For this endeavor, we have recently received an FCA Emergency Grant and mounted a crowdfunding campaign through our fiscal sponsor, Fractured Atlas, but we still need your help for this tour and beyond. Ghost Ensemble depends on your support to make this music happen, with a bountiful season in store for the coming year. Although our crowdfunding campaign has concluded, Ghost Ensemble is still accepting donations toward our 2018 season on Fractured Atlas; contributions for the purposes of Ghost Ensemble are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.
Please take a look at our 2018 season fundraiser to help make this tour happen!
————— ::: —————