During their Spring 2013 Residency at High Concept Laboratories, Chicago-based Exit Ghost will undertake to write and record an album both responsive to and challenged by the manifold acoustic spaces of the HCL loft. From the natural reverb of a brick-walled warehouse, to the muted warmth of a piano on a wood floor, High Concept presents the band with an opportunity to construct songs with an ear not only to the aural, but also to the sculptural context of their work. That is, a song conceived in a cozy, windowed sunroom is necessarily understood in a new way when transplanted into the concrete expanse of a loading dock, or the domestic hurriedness of a kitchen. In this way, songs will be composites of instruments as well as immediate reflections on the spaces in which they were recorded. As writing progresses, the mood and tone of the album will reflect an amalgam of not only how a band used a building, but also how a building used and affected a band through the arc of their songwriting.
Throughout their time at HCL, Exit Ghost will actively involve the Chicago creative community in which they take part, hosting forums, inviting mixed-media responses and collaborations, and staging open-form concerts as a means of furthering their work in an unconventional space.
Documenting the process will be frequent collaborator Jack Mayer of Screendoor Productions, who will film Exit Ghost at various points during recording—at times conducting brief interviews, but also granted carte blanche to simply be a “fly on the wall” as the group navigates the not-insignificant feat of field recording in a multi-use art space. Mixed and mastered recordings will be released as Exit Ghost’s sophomore album, due Fall 2013.
Exit Ghost is a collaborative vehicle structured around the songwriting of Evan Holmes. The group’s debut Pony Soldier EP (2010) explores a vital reverence for the imagery and culture of the American West, with fiddle and harmonies provided by tireless multi-instrumentalist Rachel Kahn. Hailed by Performer Magazine as “like [Neil Young’s] After The Goldrush on steroids”, brothers Jordan and Julian Stacey provide a powerful rhythm section that resonates soundly through the group’s first full-length album, 2012’s Move Alone; a bold, at times orchestral effort engineered by Mike Hagler of Wilco’s Summerteeth. With a nod from Paste Magazine as one of “10 Illinois Bands You Should Listen To Now”, Exit Ghost entered recording at Chicago’s Engine Studios with the addition of avant-garde guitarist Michael Golas and engineer/instrumentalist Dorian Gehring. Engine EP documents a band reinventing itself in the space of a studio, and would see the group’s first commercial placement in the HBO series Single Long. Exit Ghost’s Daytrotter Live Session previews a distinct and cohesive set of new work, to be completed as the band’s second full-length due Fall 2013.