For those already aware of the work of Snow Ghosts it will come as little surprise that their new single ‘Lied’ creeps into your ears and finds a dark corner from where it slowly spreads into your consciousness and refuses to budge. Shot through with the gothic drama that has been a hallmark of their work since their debut EP, this first instalment of a new approach from the band marks another staging post in the band’s transition from studio project to fully fledged, fully instrumentalised outfit.
For those new to Snow Ghosts, their music may be familiar to you without your knowledge. Having recently soundtracked the trailer to ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ and featured on a multitude of television shows including, most recently, ABC’s celebrated ‘How To Get Away With Murder’, Snow Ghosts are a band that are, quite literally, more present than you may imagine in the public mind.
Their last track ‘Undertow’ for the Houndstooth compilation ‘Tessellations’ received acclaim from no less a supporter than NPR, handpicked by their staff for a ‘songs we love’ premiere, comparing them to the ‘British and fatalist’ sounds of New order.
The 2016 Snow Ghosts now combine the original core of Snow Ghosts; producer / instrumentalist Ross Tones, aka Throwing Snow, and singer / songwriter Hannah Cartwright, aka Augustus Ghost, with guitarist and violinist Oliver Knowles, sometime member of renowned math rock groups Meet Me In St Louis and Exes for studio work. With Alistair, Ross’ brother, stepping in on drums for live shows, Snow Ghosts continue to develop and enhance their approach.
From their inception, Snow Ghosts’ music existed in a meeting point between the dynamics of dance, rock and traditional songcraft, Ross and Hannah’s childhood and formative musical experiences being a massive influence on the way that their sound developed. For Ross, a childhood in the Dales of the North East soundtracked by the eclecticism of John Peel augmented by a move to the soundsystem culture capital that is Bristol created a love of music outside of genre, as a mover of mood, feeling and innovation.
For Hannah, a childhood in Abu Dhabi, blending her parent’s late 60’s western rock with the sound of the muezzin from the nearby mosque, delivered a similarly diverse soundscape to a young ear. With the addition of Oliver for second album, ‘A Wrecking’, (a man with a soft spot for both the soundscapes of Mogwai and Godspeed and the full on attack of the Sub Pop and Dischord rosters), another layer of musical input was added.
The culmination of these influences and abilities is a music that transcends the labels that are so often attached to contemporary music. Whilst Drowned in Sound were undoubtedly onto something when they talked of electronica ‘assimilated into the worlds of ambient and folk music’ on ‘A Wrecking’, Snow Ghosts’ latest recordings have moved the goalposts once more, utilising all the talents at their disposal to create music that can incorporate the high drama and pure (original) gothic of ‘Lied’ and the plaintive, naked beauty of ‘Decorate My Bones’ in under ten minutes.
Their last album ‘A Wrecking’ was described by Drowned in Sound as "A haunting and complex record. The trio weave a rich tapestry of sound". NPR said of recent track ‘Undertow’ “Snow Ghosts aren't simply extending the U.K.'s electronic music sprawl toward a grandiose past, they're doing something to reconfigure it.”
‘Lied’ / ‘Decorate My Bones’ is released by Houndstooth on 29th April.
July 22nd – Huntingdon – Secret Garden Party
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