Chasing Ghosts: Red Ferguson’s Ghost Town EP

One of LA's best and most slept-on bands returns.
By    August 19, 2015

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Max Bell will accept an ounce in the mail.

Nancy said no to drugs in the ‘80s. Roughly three decades later, Future urinates Actavis. Time is the bottom of a double cup. The argument for any anti-drug rhetoric remains music. Not all of it, but more than enough. There isn’t an algorithm to determine how much would disintegrate if not for drugs. No Jimi or Jerry and the Dead. No Miles or Coltrane. The entire “rap” section of the iTunes store might be a Macklemore album. Red Ferguson know their history and will never mackle.

Last year, the L.A. duo (Bryan Gomez and Alex Hastings) released The Ghost Town Sessions. Recorded during acid-addled sessions in Eagle Mountain, a one time mining village turned desolate ghost town, it remains one of the most overlooked projects of 2014 (more of said projects here). Following a preview of their forthcoming, Paul White assisted EP, Phosphorous Philosophers, they’ve rerecorded last years lysergic jams.

Ghost Town is uncompromisingly faithful to the original recordings, still sounding at the interstice of Atoms for Peace and Darkside without descending into the derivative. The inherent spontaneity is sacrificed, but the new versions are so rewarding that you forget where it started. The MPC rhythms remain minimal while glinting keys and reverberating guitar riffs inspire visions of infinite expanses of red-brown terra firma. Hasting’s subcutaneous bass lines tap all synaptic vessels for serotonin. Gomez’s voice, instead of echoing from somewhere deep in the mix, is louder and more arresting. His occasionally Yorke-like delivery sounds more assured. The heartbreak and the longing have crystalized. All specters have become easier to see.

Apart from the fidelity, the main difference between The Ghost Town Sessions and Ghost Town is that last track has become the first. Still, the sequencing is seamless. The end and the beginning were always interchangeable. Minor revelations happen after you reflect on several mind melting hours spent in sweltering desert heat. Red Ferguson took that trip for you twice. It’s cyclical, or something.

The EP is currently available gratis. Red Ferguson will perform at the Passion of the Weiss 10 Year Anniversary show next month. You can buy tickets here. Call your shaman or patchouli plug (possibly one in the same) for all hallucinogens.

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