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Nuke Watch - Pepper's Ghost LP

Nuke Watch - Pepper's Ghost LP

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Don’t believe your ears - Pepper’s Ghost is the latest offering from NYC project Nuke Watch.

Whatever you think it is - it is not. By the same token it really can be whatever you want - electronica, jazz, improv, noise, new age, ambient - it’s none and all of these. Like the primitive visual illusion it’s named for - Pepper’s Ghost is a projection of a thing, it’s not the thing.

The Nuke Watch method - like that of Aaron Anderson and Chris Hontos’ other primary project Beat Detectives - leans almost entirely on live improvisation, with some advanced studio alchemy in post. Where the Beat Detectives palette draws from club music tropes, Nuke Watch blends recognizable tones (hand drums, woodwinds, keys, fretless bass) with sounds of providence unknown, the line between organic and synthesized instrumentation unintelligibly smudged. What is real and what is projection? It’s hard to say. What do our ears tell us? This is where we arrive at Pepper’s Ghost.

Warped as the sounds may be, the playing belies a crew of deeply expressive, learned improvisers who have their craft honed. Their friendship and psychic connection enhances the ritualistic rhythms, mutant modular synthesis, nimble keyboard runs, absurdist sampling and unidentified skronk. They’re wonderfully complemented across several tracks on this set by Cole Pulice’s levitational, sublime saxophone.

As unhinged as this might all appear, once the mind and music meet on the same wavelength this is profoundly moving, energizing and uplifting Alive Music that recalibrates the sense of what music can be.

RIYL - Musical illusions, puzzles and magic tricks, downtempo, music of the spheres, good journey, Eddie Harris, Ketron, "world building", orange sunshine, suspension of disbelief.

Nuke Watch is Aaron Anderson and Chris Hontos, with an array of friendly guests. They’ve released records as Nuke Watch on The Trilogy Tapes, Commend and Moon Glyph. As Beat Detectives they’ve released records on Not Not Fun, 100% Silk and their own studio imprint NYPD Records.

Pepper's Ghost was written and produced by Aaron Anderson and Chris Hontos. Additional instrumentation on these recordings by Cole Pulice, Leonard King, Eric Timothy Carlson, Chris Farstad and William Statler. It was mixed by Chris Hontos and mastered by Jack Callahan. Painting on the cover is “The Unity Of Being” (2020), by Ry Fyan. Design and layout by Aaron Anderson.
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