Ghost:Hello Premiere “The Mouth of the Gift Horse”; The Sound of Color in Space out Sept. 20

ghost hello (Photo by Tanner Young)

Ohio-based trio Ghost:Hello will self-release their impressive and far-reaching debut long-player, The Sound of Color in Space, on Sept. 20. Aside from the punctuation in the middle of the band’s name, the first hint that everything might not be what it seems comes in the winding weirdo keyboard — or I guess it could be a theremin — line of second cut “Fingerstache.” The prior intro “Alcubierre Metric” has kind of a post-rocky tonal wash feel to it, which works well, but after “Fingerstache” rolls out its guitar-less fuzz-punk groove, its last minute-plus settles into a different vibe, laid back and topped by the noted line. It fades out leaving the drums as the last element to go but has an almost hip-hop rhythm that, in some of the context of what follows throughout The Sound of Color in Space, is an initial showing of Ghost:Hello‘s willingness to reach outside heavy rock in terms of genre. “Perfect,” which follows, quickly affirms the strange-things-afoot suspicions raised, and in righteous fashion, with more bass-up-front nod-riffing and steady repetitions off the line, “I’m perfect in all ways,” that hypnotize ahead of the sucker-punch that is the screaming start of “The Mouth of the Gift Horse,” a noise rocker that makes room in its two minutes for some synth before wrapping with an unabashed mosh part. Because obviously.

Comprised of synthesist/thereminist Nina Smok, bassist William Jennings and drummer Joe KiddGhost:Hello top the otherwise instrumental synth/bass/drum bounce of “Bardo State” with samples-only before rhythmic chain backsghost hello the sound of color in space the play on Tom Waits in “Nemesis” and then comes “Burnout,” which, for a band with no guitar, how do you throw the ultimate wrench in the expectation of your listener? That’s right, with a guitar. Stick that solo in your brain, those who’ve traveled thus far into the seven of nine tracks on The Sound of Color in Space. The penultimate “Spit of Stars” revives the bassy-shove and punkish vibe with just a quick excursion into ambience and sampling for good measure, and “Poison Swan” caps as the longest cut at 5:35 with a totally atmospheric approach building on the worldmaking of “Alcubierre Metric” and getting “heavy” for just a bit but leaving its primary impression to the sparseness that seems to surround. It’s not intuitive as a headphone album in the way some more psychedelic or post-rock-style offerings are, but The Sound of Color in Space has details and turns that are worth focusing on, and if headphones enables that, it’s worth plugging in. And despite the inherent rawness of sound that comes with bass and drum and (mostly) no guitar, Ghost:Hello bring together a complex approach that is so joyously grotesque it makes it hard not to get on board.

I’ll be honest with you. Probably more honest than I need to be. I hear a lot of heavy rock-based bands. Not all of them by any stretch, but plenty. And as with any genre or style of anything — literature, music, art, film, cooking, whatever — there are a lot of commonalities between bands. So many riffs, so many white dudes, so much beer. When it gets exhausting, and I get to hear a band like Ghost:Hello, who have a clear will toward being forward-thinking and individualized with their sound and whose debut seems only to preface more oddities to come, I can’t help but feel refreshed. The Sound of Color in Space is definitely a first step, and I’d love to hear Ghost:Hello experiment further with arrangement, start banging on pots and pans, work in some dance beats alongside heavy-as-hell basslines, etc., but the point is that even in evoking such thoughts in the mind of their audience, they’re encouraging creativity in response to creativity, and that is what good art should do. So thanks. I needed that.

You won’t get the full context of the record from “The Mouth of the Gift Horse,” which is premiering here, but it’s a two-minute blast of bass-led, scream-topped noise rock fuckall, so, you know, you could do a lot worse.

Please enjoy:

Ghost:Hello is a synth-loving stoner rock family affair from northeast Ohio. Made up of a husband/wife duo and their cousin, the band members have been playing for decades. With extensive individual histories touring around the US and in Europe in other DIY groups, this project just feels like a natural continuation. Together as a family and as musicians, Ghost:Hello is now ready to take the rock n roll world by the horns.

Bringing in all sorts of unorthodox elements into their fuzz rock assault, this trio counterbalances stoner sludge with trip hop grooves. The group has never been afraid to experiment, and Ghost:Hello is completely a slave to their various muses; this leads to an elegant fusion of influences of bands like Type O Negative to Fatso Jetson by way of Queens of the Stone Age. The band has amassed an impressive social media following since its inception, even with a debut album still on the way. The upcoming record, Sound of Color in Space, has been engineered and produced by a friend through the company 8th Day Sound, who have worked with Slayer, Marilyn Manson, and Smashing Pumpkins.

Now as they double down for their first release, Ghost:Hello are set to take on bold new vistas. Having played around the Midwest since 2013, the local crowd is hungry for what they are about to deliver. DIY til death, these fuzz rockers are planning everything from shows in new places to an animated video to herald their new music. A band that’s no stranger to hard work, and who constantly push to innovate, Ghost:Hello are a breath of fresh air in a crowded scene!

Sound of Color in Space will be available in digital and CD formats September 20th, 2019.

Band Members:
Nina Skok — synthesizers, samples, and Theremin
William Jennings — bass
Joe Kidd — drums and percussion

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