Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

5

SUSS: Ghost Box - Expanded

Mark Sullivan By

Sign in to view read count
The band SUSS first presented their "psychedelic ambient country instrumentals" on Ghost Box (Self Produced, 2018), a delightful and unexpected window into an eclectic ambient soundscape. That 35-minute session is expanded into nearly an hour here. The first seven tracks reproduce the original album in the original order.

The group is a quintet whose members have worked in various capacities with Lydia Lunch, the B-52s, k.d. Lang, David Bowie, John Cale, Ed Sheeran, Wilco, Norah Jones, The War On Drugs, Burt Bacharach, the Nickelodeon network, The New Yorker, and many others. Cowpunk pioneer mandolinist Bob Holmes is the main catalyst. In their old band Rubber Rodeo he and synthesist Gary Lieb were known for mashing up Country and New Wave rock—but you could see the stitches. This time Holmes says the goal was to "make music where you couldn't see the stitches."

Their success at making "ambient music with traditional instruments" was clear on the original album, a seamless fusion that sounded like ambient pioneer Brian Eno producing the "Spaghetti Western" film scores of Italian composer Ennio Morricone. Mandolin, keening pedal steel guitar and twangy electric guitar (as well as liquid over-driven sounds) are joined at times by whistling, distant voices, Dobro and even harmonica.

The four new tracks expand the playing time without altering the mood. They do tend to be a bit longer than the originals, but the atmosphere is the same. "Steam" comes in with ambient outdoor sounds and dreamy slide guitar glissandi: lots of atmospheric echo and spacey flanging effects. "Salt" pairs the pedal steel with a twangy electric guitar over a throbbing electronic background, while "Laramie" features big chordal swells that break like waves in a storm. "After The Storm" concludes the expanded album with a few minutes of distant soundscapes before launching into beautiful guitar-driven melody (with a drum beat). It all dissolves back into a soundscape, a haunting ending.

The original release of Ghost Box was short, but easily recommended to ambient music fans. This version is even better, a deeper dive into a special—and very American—sound world.

Track Listing: Wichita; Late Night Call; Big Sky; Rain; Laredo; Gunfighter; Canyonlands (Return To Wichita); Steam; Salt; Laramie; After The Storm.

Personnel: Bob Holmes: mandolin; Pat Irwin: guitar; William Garrett: guitar; Jonathan Gregg: pedal steel; Gary Lieb: synthesizer.

Title: Ghost Box - Expanded | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Northern Spy Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Ghost Box

Ghost Box

Self Produced
2018

buy
Ghost Box - Expanded

Ghost Box - Expanded

Northern Spy Records
2018

buy

Related Articles

Read Everything's OK CD/LP/Track Review
Everything's OK
by Doug Collette
Published: December 16, 2018
Read Making Bones, Taking Draughts, Bearing Unstable Millstones Pridefully, Idiotically, Prosaically CD/LP/Track Review
Making Bones, Taking Draughts, Bearing Unstable Millstones...
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 16, 2018
Read Legacy CD/LP/Track Review
Legacy
by Doug Collette
Published: December 16, 2018
Read Other Life Forms CD/LP/Track Review
Other Life Forms
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 16, 2018
Read Live At Moods CD/LP/Track Review
Live At Moods
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 16, 2018
Read Runner in the Rain CD/LP/Track Review
Runner in the Rain
by Troy Dostert
Published: December 15, 2018
Read "Live" CD/LP/Track Review Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 25, 2018
Read "Close Your Eyes" CD/LP/Track Review Close Your Eyes
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 1, 2018
Read "Live In Europe" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Europe
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: May 16, 2018
Read "Last Minute Panic" CD/LP/Track Review Last Minute Panic
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 18, 2017
Read "New Angel" CD/LP/Track Review New Angel
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 3, 2018
Read "Historias Del Pasado Reciente" CD/LP/Track Review Historias Del Pasado Reciente
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 30, 2018