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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Ghost Wars

posted by on July 25 at 1:39 AM

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I had breakfast with Arlie Carstens, former front man for Juno, yesterday morning. He’s been in town for a couple weeks, laying down tracks for Ghost Wars, his new collaborative project with producer/auteur Eric Fisher (Damien Jurado, Rosie Thomas, etc.). After starting work over a year ago, they finished tracking an album’s worth of music on Sunday, and now Arlie’s going back to LA for five weeks “to obsess over lyrics” before returning to complete the record this fall.

What’s it sound like? Well, you can check out three rough audio samples here. The project, as Arlie describes it, is all about back-and-forth between these two wildly creative individuals. For example, one track, “Waves of Blood” (yes, I chuckled at the title, too), started out as a quiet and contemplative demo by Carstens, but rapidly evolved into “a tsunami of chaos and misery” once Fisher - plus Blood Brothers bassist Morgan Henderson and dual drummers Eric Akre and someone else cool I couldn’t make out (Arlie had a mouthful of eggs) - all got involved. Other contributors include Thomas, Jay Clarke, Derrick Fudesco, Nate Mendel, and many more.

Also in the works, but not slated for the album is a cover of “Divide And Conquer” from Flip Your Wig by Hüsker Dü. “We slowed it down till it sounds like a Nick Drake song,” says Arlie. Which makes perfect sense if you know that Carstens’ musical aesthetic is basically bookended by classic Hüsker Dü on one end, and latter-day Talk Talk on the other. Right now, plans are to tentatively issue this oddity as a split single on a NYC indie imprint. The full-length will, ideally, be available for public consumption by year’s end. In the meantime, trawl the Internet or the radio dial; in addition to KEXP and Last FM, stations in Italy and Japan have reportedly already picked up on the rough mixes on MySpace and put them in rotation.

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