It isn't often new music surfaces that is so deeply intense, just hearing it may induce instant nostalgia; the ancient sensations you get when the seasons change, a vivid dream involving the first person you ever loved. In the same way that select few can simultaneously achieve dark and uplifting songs, the Brooklyn-based quartet known as GHASTLY CITY SLEEP hone in on some immensely powerful elements to deliver a commanding, breathtaking first offering. On the GHASTLY CITY SLEEP debut, four tracks span thirty minutes... and when it's done, you actually feel different. To say it's "moving" is an understatement with what Robotic Empire safely proclaims to be one of the most groundbreaking releases we've ever been a part of.
While two pieces nearly reach the six-minute mark and the other two eclipse nine, the whole offering flows with a smooth liquidity, creating one solidified, captivating body of work. The four young men involved in GHASTLY CITY SLEEP don't stick to one instrument long, as the entire collective can be found playing everything from guitars, keys, various percussion and just about everything in between. The multitude of layers involved here are accompanied by a warm yet haunting array of vocals, all helping to produce this simply epic debut.
released October 16, 2007
To breathe is a simple, gentle moment of life's dynamic waves: one rising, swift swelling up, proceeded by one swirling, deep crushing down. Such extremes of high and low seep from the spinning sounds of GHASTLY CITY SLEEP's long-awaited debut release, penetrating the dark well of one's day-to-day droning subconscious. The group's attention to detail within each song manifests as seamless layers upon tugging, harmonic layers of sounds and instrumentation, seeming to warp spans of time and manipulate the senses. Drawing one in with the breath-like, samply chords of opener "Ice-Creaks", this eponymous debut transports the listener into a Murakami-esque world of moonlit, fogged dream states. GHASTLY CITY SLEEP faithfully captures the emotional journey of personal and universal struggle, frustration, hopeful gloominess and warm passion.
In 2005 each of the four native Virginian songwriters (Brandon Evans, Pat Broderick, C.B. Houck and Champ Bennett) found themselves relocated and united in Brooklyn, NY, eager to consciously take on change, and face their overbearing desire to grow and challenge themselves musically. Immersing themselves into a meticulous songwriting process along an almost post-guitar path, the boys purposefully placed themselves uncomfortably in front of instruments less familiar to their former bands (CITY OF CATERPILLAR, GREGOR SAMSA, MAJORITY RULE, KILARA, PG.99, etc.). Self discovery united with the evolution of technical skill became their process, which included sampling sounds, tweaking tones, constructing skeletons, tearing them apart, questioning and restructuring. An album emerged, born of both artistic and personal risk. On the debut's "Subtle Disaster" they go as far as stripping most guitar and all drums, leaving only a looping, church-like layer of haunting harmonized vocals to keep the tempo moving in a hazy, languid world of time. The record is coated in a spacious ambiance reverberating between skull-walls, pianos, organs, twinkling bells, synths, violins, hand drums, layers of harmonized vocals all finding their way into a symbiotic union, presented as four lengthy songs, and an immensely oceanic 30-minute first record.
It wasn't until 2006 that GHASTLY CITY SLEEP took their passion out of the practice studio and united with label and long-time cohort Robotic Empire. In the dead of winter, the group began the long recording process at Manhattan's Gigantic Studio with producer/engineer Alex Aldi at the helm. After laying down the framework of the album the band reworked the material throughout the summer in their Greenpoint, Brooklyn practice space. An entirely different beast was returned to Gigantic for mixing in the fall, but as recording concluded GHASTLY CITY SLEEP learned the struggle of hardships and delays, including seeing Champ leave the band. They have since welcomed Allen Siegler and Matt Boyle to the group and have been anticipating the arrival of summer. The anxiously awaited GHASTLY CITY SLEEP debut will be released on October 16th, 2007, and finally marks the first chapter in what promises to be a lengthy, fascinating story.
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