Release Date: Nov 9, 2010
Record label: Upset the Rhythm
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Former Ghosts are a band based on the solo recordings of Freddy Ruppert, with regular contributions from Xiu Xiu's Jamie Stewart, Yasmine Kittles of TEARIST and Nika Roza Danilova, aka Zola Jesus. To those of you reading who've already had the pleasure of being introduced to 2009's excellent debut Fleurs, you can probably just skip to the next paragraph if you like. But to those who've only been exposed to the above artists through the medium of hype, Former Ghosts are probably an intimidating concept given the absolute swarm of buzz that surrounds its four members, all hyperbole and blogging and genres like 'witch house', 'lo-fi', 'Joy Division' etc, etc.
ZUT ALORS! Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit Prozac. There I was, Martini in hand, skipping merrily toward Freddy Ruppert’s second album, anticipating fizzy retro electro chills, when I quickly found myself knee deep in A&E-level miserablist melancholia. Why didn’t anybody warn me? New Love‘s unlucky 13 tales of woe brought every broken heart, every shattered dream I’d ever had rushing back to haunt me, taunt me, and throw rotten fruit in my face.
You know you’re bound for ROFL-ville when you read the words “featuring [b]Jamie Stewart[/b] of [b]Xiu Xiu[/b] and [a]Zola Jesus[/a]’ [b]Nika Roza Danilova[/b]”, and sure enough Freddy Ruppert’s second album as [b]Former Ghosts[/b] is as warm, life-affirming and snuggly as a coatless night on the Siberian steppes. Bleak and bereft love songs are blanketed in scratchy noise, resulting in a fractious beauty reminiscent of Warp artists like [b]Bogdan Raczynski[/b], as on ‘[b]Taurean Nature[/b]’, where fizzing sine waves crack with sudden rainstorm violence into a crisp and glassy atmosphere. The aptly titled ‘[b]Chin Up[/b]’ featuring [a]Zola Jesus[/a] offers variety, pulsing with a melodic energy that’s closer to [a]Cold Cave[/a]’s stern pop.
News stories about Former Ghosts, the group/collective led by Freddy Ruppert, usually make a point of mentioning the involvement of Xiu Xiu and Zola Jesus. While invoking the names of both a long-running, well-respected, uncompromising underground group and an up-and-coming performer is a great way to sell prospective listeners on an unknown project, it's not really accurate as far as what Former Ghosts is. The best way to think of Former Ghosts is as the newest work from the man previously known as This Song Is a Mess But So Am I, a one-man group created by Ruppert as a coping mechanism for the untimely death of his mother.
Former Ghosts is the brainchild — or, rather, the bleeding-heart-child — of Freddy Ruppert, shored up by the inimitable talents of wormwood-rising star Niki Roza Danilova, a.k.a. Zola Jesus, and the deft old hand of Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart, both of whom independently stole the show during the joint tour of all three groups. While the latter blitzed with stellar performances at London’s XOYO, Ruppert blamed his excessive ‘rocking out’ for a set marred by malfunctioning technology.
Slow-buzzing synths and dry beats which are right on the electro-goth trend. Alex Tudor 2010 Whether it’s the legacy of The Knife, or a whole lot of Cure fans coming of age, flavour of the month seems to be a kind of updated electro-goth. Freddy Ruppert may be a new name to most, but his collaborators here include one of the most deservedly hyped artists of the year, Nika Roza Danilova (AKA Zola Jesus), and the inimitable Jamie Stewart (AKA Xiu Xiu) – responsible for two of the year’s best albums.