Ambarchi, Oren / Johan Berthling / Andreas Werliin: Ghosted II (Vinyl LP)
Ambarchi, Oren / Johan Berthling / Andreas Werliin: Ghosted II (Vinyl LP)

Ambarchi, Oren / Johan Berthling / Andreas Werliin: Ghosted II (Vinyl LP)

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An utterly unique guitar/bass/drums triad: the guitar sounds like anything but a guitar; bass and drums simultaneously insistent and relaxed. Telepathic group-think opens a window to fresh fields of fusion: funk-jazz heads, polyrhythmic skeletons, ambient pastorals, post-kraut drones and shimmering soundtrack reveries. A music of sustained tension and deep atmosphere, marked by subtle, shifting dynamics playing out in an open sound field.

Missing out on that super-chill, uber-jittery minimal groove thing? Let’s get real, real Ghosted again.

Oren Ambarchi has been collaborating with the Fire! trio (Mats Gustafsson, Johan Berthling and Andreas Werliin) for over a decade – and both Johan and Andreas played on Oren’s Live Hubris as well. Oren and Johan began music-making together back in the early aughts – but it wasn’t until 2021 that the three of them got together to record music. That became the first Ghosted album. When they were done, it was clear they had founded a new group. A music of sustained tension and deep atmosphere marked by subtle, shifting dynamics, Ghosted was released in May of 2022 to psyched response everywhere; the trio embarked upon an ongoing series of concert bookings around Europe, with loads of other people in the world still hoping to have the chance to be in the room at the next show. Two years on, Ghosted has gone through several represses, now it’s time for the “dreaded follow up album”! Rather than go back to the well, the guys decided to tear everything down and start all over again, reimagining themselves from scratch.

Just kidding! As we’ve noted, Oren, Johan and Andreas have been playing together for years and years, developing an essential telepathy within their shared space. They get each other and feed each other’s music processes on an elemental level. Why change that? What made the most sense was to go back to Daneil Bengtsson at Studio Rymden in Stockholm for a couple days, then have Oren and Joe Talia mix and Joe master it at Good Mixture in Melbourne again, then get Pål Dybwik to do some well-distinctive cover art, and once more, call it a record.

That’s just what they did — and it should be no surprise at all that the new Ambarchi/ Berthling/Werliin album looks and sounds as engrossing as their debut, if not more so! Ghosted II has a definitively fresh quality radiating throughout. The mutual feeling among the three players goes deep, allowing for lots more to say every time they get together — a further recombination of elements, a new expedition through alternative angles... there’s always more, and incredibly, it’s all improvised, with next-to-nothing prepared going in and minimal overdubs after they’ve laid things down. References are shared in shorthand, with just a single word, like “Santana,” or “Police” acting as working titles for certain pieces on this record (have a guess!). It’s a disservice to call them jams: above and beyond the innate feel of the songs, there’s a strong sense of structure, informed by the band’s communal aesthetic, and edified immeasurably by their time spent in concert the last couple years.

As noted at the top, these guys balance their music improbably between a relaxed feel and a nervy resolve, as each member holds down their corner in an open sound field. Making Ghosted II, the band found that there’s a different kind of tension making something for an established project rather than the kind one feels making something for the first time — and they used this new variety, as before, as a kind of fuel — driving their terse minimalism fruit-fully through the process of succumbing to and then transcending guilty pleasures. Finding fresh territory in funk sketches, jazzy heads, ambient pastorals and droning soundtrack pieces, Ambarchi, Berthling and Werliin compellingly haunt a mad variety of spaces, leaving us wanting to get Ghosted II.

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