A Rest Is All You Need…

Interview with The Ghost Of 29 Megacycles – Fluid Radio
October 10, 2010, 11:02 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
The guys over at Fluid Radio have recently put up a written review/interview with The Ghost Of 29 Megacycles for ‘The Hummingbird Dream’ and they’ve also put up an excerpt from the recorded interview too, which you can check out over here. Being the lovely people they are, they’ve also put the record in their top 10 for October! Read the interview with Alex Gibson below:

“The Ghost of 29 Megacycles come from Australia where it’s sunny and people have corks hanging from their hats and Alf Stewart lives there shaking his fist at children and people say “I can see the pub from here” sometimes. However, they seem happy to ignore most of these things in favor of sculpting sheer, blissful surfaces of drone from organs and guitars before topping them off with occasional shoe gaze-style breathy female vocalizing.”

Thus spoke Brett of Norman Records, reviewing ‘Love Via Paper Planes’ – the debut album from the aforementioned Ghost. Which, apart from being very funny, is also true. The part about the corks especially.
Brett will no doubt be very happy to hear that their new release, ‘The Hummingbird Dream’, is an epic and tender two track EP that is a rival to any drone release for the year – dense, moving and cavernous. Protagonist Greg Taw constructs the two tracks, with assistance from Jessyca Hutchins, Rupert Thomas and Rebecca Orchard on the second. The tracks are described as having been “born from sleepless nights, morning silence and sadness”, and the vast 24-minute opener ‘Part 1’ certainly reminds of the both the panic and calm of insomnia. It also hints the possibility of a positive outcome, with the bird-sound that ends the track, and fades into the second.
‘Part 2’ is likely the day following in slow motion, spent in an exhausted and subliminal state. The vocals of Orchard, Taw and Hutchins fade in and out of the speakers, guided ably by the mixing of both Crispin Wellington & Matt Rosner and the mastering of Taylor Deupree.
It is both surprising and impressive – going into it with no preconceptions left me pleasantly stunned. So, when the opportunity came up to discuss the release in detail with Greg Taw, I jumped at the chance.
Fluid Radio was lucky enough to catch Greg at an afternoon show on a Sunday, after a rushed trip from an interstate show the night before. I chatted to Greg briefly about a number of things, including some elements of the recording (some of the audio of that conversation appears in this article), then settled back to watch his set. After he set up his various effects units, he spent some minutes crafting a loop on which he was about to build his performance, only to have an electrical short blow one of his power adaptors as the loop started to peak.
As the sound slowly decayed around him he calmly rerouted his equipment and built the pieces back up, phoenix-like, out of the feedback that ensued.
This methodical and considered approach to his music is also displayed in his writing process, as he discusses below.

Tell us a little about the Ghost Of 29 Megacycles.
The Ghost of 29 Megacycles started out as a little bedroom project 3 years ago. At that time I was getting bored of writing post-rock songs and was enjoying the experimentation and improvisation of sound and structure. In particular, I was really interested in minimalist drone music and post-shoegaze music. The live band was pretty reckless with up to 6 or 7 members at one point just improvising anything and everything. We ended up drifting to be more of a performance art/noise band. I think I started to take this project much more seriously when we condensed the band down to a three piece with myself, Karen de San Miguel (vocals/drums) and Matt Aitken (organ) and started to actually work on the music as I had originally intended. Of late I have been spending more and more time on vocal processing and lyrics, which is something we had touched on in our live shows and on our debut CD, Love Via Paper Planes.

The Hummingbird Dream is your most recent EP – can you talk us through the themes behind it?
I started working on this EP earlier this year when I was going through a tough time in my personal life and having problems sleeping. I had no intentions of recording anything this year but at the time it was something I needed to complete to get my mind off things. I guess the main theme of the album is the loneliness you can feel when you can’t sleep and up until the morning. Those hours before the sunrises are very reflective, which can be either positive or negative, when you are alone with only your thoughts and the subtle sounds from the street. When I started thinking about doing this album I really wanted the mood and structure of the songs to reflect that ambience and loneliness of those early hours. There is also this magical moment in the morning when the silence fades to birds chirping which partly inspired the title of the songs. I ended up recording some of those bird sounds one morning in my backyard to connect the 2 songs together.

Who are your contributors on the record, and what can you tell us about them? Is it a permanent line up?
I had hoped that Karen and Matt could record on the album but unfortunately they were both overseas at the time. They are my usual contributors to my recordings and part of my live band in Perth. I had asked my friend Jessyca Hutchins (my bandmate of Pacific By Rail/ solo as Jane Harris) to sing on the record and my friends Rupert and Rebecca of Erasers to add some organ and vocal tones. They brought a very different approach to what Karen and Matt would normally contribute.
It isn’t a permanent lineup. I am currently based in Melbourne and am playing as The Ghost of 29 Megacycles solo via a laptop to trigger samples. It is a different set up which is working out well, but I am trying to focus less on playing live and working more on writing music. I have spent the past 2 months writing music fulltime in Melbourne and will be continuing to do so till the end of this year. I hope to record it in Perth sometime next year with Karen and Matt.

Track 1 is a pretty elaborate and lengthy piece. Was it difficult to record and arrange? Did it take a long time to construct?
This track is largely improvised structure-wise when it was recorded, we recorded 2 versions of it (the other was about 15 minutes in length) and I went with the version that best represented the feeling of loneliness. It just happens to be the longer 24-minute version. I did add some organ and minimal textures which Matt Rosner mixed in and out but this track is largely untouched from the original recording. I did spend a lot of time before recording it of thinking of several ways of structuring it but eventually recorded it based on feeling.

Track 2 shows more of the group dynamic, and is considerably shorter – was this an easier track to put together?
This track funnily enough was the harder track to compose. I had just gotten into lyric writing at this point and wanted to start experimenting with adding lyrics to drone music. It did take me awhile to write the lyrics but it was a process I enjoyed immensely and something I am going to continue to add to my work in the future. Matt Rosner helped a lot with ideas with processing Rebecca’s vocals for the interlude and also structuring this song.


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