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How to Create Words
David Lewis
Grey Ghost is a duo project. Shelton’s breathy a cappella saxophone opens “Spitzacolli” with a fragmented minimalist motif that gradually evolves into double tracked lines that transform Crawford’s simmering cymbals into a driving groove. Still the multiplication of Shelton’s simple lines does grow rather muddy at times. There is also a tendency for this duo to get stuck in a dirge mode; after the comparative drama and outburst of the opening track, the ensuing “Splendor,” “Horns and Organ,” “Hand Down” and “When You Say Go, Leave” sustain a static ambiance. That is a great pity as further listening reveals this to be an uncharitable view of the duo’s monotony of form. Consider how the computer distortions that introduce “When You Say Go, Leave” adorn an average sounding mid-tempo jam on tenor sax and drums with the sound of surprise. Similarly the shimmering accretions of the atmospheric “Command Control” and the animated stasis of “Spool” demonstrate why the second half of this project is consistently worth repeated hearing. That’s never more evident than during the spectral minimalism of “Unheard, Other Bands Practice” evoked by Shelton’s droll clarinet and Crawford’s melodica and curt percussion. In other words this project is a bit slow to get going but if you find that the brief drone hook of the second track “Splendor” intrigues you (as this lasts under three minutes it’s only a foretaste of this duo’s more protracted process) be assured that by the end of the sonic journey you will have found this one to have been well worth the musical ride.
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