Ghost Box Orchestra‘s upcoming EP, Sound of (Eternal Now), is only 30 minutes long. If you close your eyes, don’t be surprised if you lose track of time. The four-song psych rock release has a meditative feel to it, from the music all the way through to the artwork, that stretches out into the infinite.
All five members–Jeremy Lassetter (guitar, vocals), Christopher Johnson (guitar), Nazli Rex (keys, percussion, vocals), Martin Rex (drums), and Zachary McGowan (bass)–recorded the EP at Boston’s own Converse Rubber Tracks studio where the theme of the release, immediacy, allowed for supersonic results.
“They materialized so quickly: the single in one day at Rubber Tracks, two other songs were completely spur of the moment at our rehearsal space and the last one was made in Chris’s living room,” says Lassetter. “I think we’re expanding as a band to include some more serendipitous moments that we were lucky to have tape rolling – otherwise an improv in the practice space usually disappears right after the last note rings out. As a band, it’s as tight as we’ve ever been and as loose as we’ve ever been on a release. Which is an interesting place for us, because we tend to take our time making records and focusing on all the details until the whole thing is done and the end result is just the way we want it.”
Casual playing during practice saw sparks of melody appear, materialize into a song, and then pour out of them all simultaneously in an unstoppable way. “You’re standing there, totally into it and thinking, ‘This is amazing – and it’s never going to happen this way again,'” says Lassetter. “There’s something sacred about that. The whole unit rises and dips together — and it can be euphoric.”
The EP sources the looser material of Sonic Youth in that way. Lassetter brings up the similarities in “Lightspeed” and “Lodge III”: pure, channeled numbers where warm-ups at rehearsal turned into goldmines for extracting songs. The challange came not with looking back, but with letting the songwriting stay as it is, not tweaking it, to let it be.
“My favorite moment from the studio was when we ran a tone generator through two stacked Roland Space Echoes,” says Lassetter. “It’s a shower of pulses and echoes and sounds so good. You can hear it on the outro of the single and again on the reprise, but it’s this awesome sci-fi, lift-off sound that fits so perfectly at the end and was not a part that we planned on adding, it just came out.”
It all comes full circle, starting where their music begins: their name. “Ghost box” refers to the paranormal device which records the sound of spirits communicating from beyond. When multiplied into the double digits, it becomes an orchestra of other worlds speaking to one another, their eerie backstories crackling out of lo-fi speakers. “It’s a metaphor for those times where you sit down to play and a whole song comes out of you, and you have no idea where it ‘came from’ – it just feels like it passed right through you,” says Lassetter. By the sound of it, Sound of (Eternal Now) was an exercise in exactly that.
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