Max Davies is a magical thinker. He describes his new album as “contemplations of the current zeitgeist of bigger, louder, faster, that the USA seems to have exported to the rest of the world”. The question is how do you lament the state of modernity, consumerism, and the frightening pace at which we are destroying our natural environment, and get the listener to dance to your tune in three point five minutes? The answer is found on Ghosts Hang Low, Davies’ third full-length album.
While the recording process took only around nine months, Ghosts Hang Low is the culmination of several years worth of ruminating on subjects important to Davies, and experimental approaches to music.
Low-fi but rich, it sits somewhere between the simplicity of Sonic Youth, the message of sixties counter-culture, and the layered opulence of Beck. The result is an enveloping listening experience.
Heavy on vibe, Davies employed an old-meets-new recording process, tracking guitars, vocals, drums and piano live, with minimal overdubs. By running the songs through an Ampex reel-to-reel machine he obtained a natural sounding compression, and by opting not to use a click-track, the songs have room to breath. You get the sense of real musicians playing live instruments, and the tiny imperfections that the human ear so adores. It’s a style of production that is becoming rare in the “ultra-loud, zero-decibel world of today”.
Poet Anne Waldman describes Ghosts Hang Low as “a triumph. A synchronized sensory achievement”.
Davies has delivered a luxuriant album, giving the listener a reverse brainwash, and a call to awaken. To simplify, to tune out the white noise, and into the pulse of the soul.