March 10, 2017


Backstory

How is it that we manage meaning, purpose, and sanity when we’re blown back and forth between polarized but mutually co-existent emotional states, such as love and hate, right and wrong, innocence and guilt?

 

How is it that, simultaneously, unconditional love could be met by ultimate and unspeakable betrayal, and undeterred selflessness by blatant selfishness?

 

Is there a space of resolution where our primal-animal instincts find peace with our ancient desire for moral resolution?

 

At what point does a broken psyche move beyond the threshold of possible reconciliation? Is it possible, or worthwhile, to transcend this point and forgive beyond all limits? 

 

How does “love” meet betrayal? At what point does the clinging to the concept of “love’” constitute self-abuse?

 

Where do you turn when you realize the majority of your life’s story and memories were built upon layers upon layers of falsehoods, that the ones you trusted most turned against you long ago?

 

While in the midst of completing production on the upcoming Ghost Against Ghost concept album, Oia, Ghost Against Ghost front man Christopher Bono was unexpectedly struck by a close, personal tragedy in the spring of 2014 forcing him back into the writing studio to process this new trauma through music.

Over the following months, Christopher reflected on the confusion and internal conflict that results when the life we knew and accepted as true and stable is ripped apart by disturbing revelations of a shocking betrayal and a pandora’s box of dark, misaligned secrets.

 

xIt was in this nightmarish, paradoxical web of unanswerable questions that the roots of the Still Love album drew life. To dig further into the heart of the experience, Christopher based the lyrical point of view from that of the female victim.

_______

THE MAKING OF

Christopher Bono: “Once the general song sketches had been formed, I teamed up with good friend Anthony Molina (Mercury Rev, White Light Production) to begin pre-production work in upstate New York.  We played and experimented with several new song ideas in the summer of 2014, and began production work in October and November. 

After these initial ideas had been sketched out and some stylistic direction was determined, I realized it was necessary to go back into an isolated hibernation period to work out the complex synth arrangements I had envisioned for the album. I went off on my own and spent several months finishing the arrangements in Sibelius and Pro Tools, experimenting with various synth patches, and overseeing the final tracking and production work"

 

INSTRUMENTATION

Christopher Bono: "For every project I write and produce, I like to examine a new composition or orchestration scenario.  I knew I wanted to focus this record around dense synth orchestrations and acoustic drums. One day, while randomly walking the streets of New York, with synthesizer orchestrations on my creative mind and looking for a new inspiring direction for the album, I randomly walked into a local music store and discovered the recently released Dave Smith Prophet 12 synthesizer. I was blown away by the digital sculpting possibilities of this synth alongside its classic sound, I decided immediately it would be the primary sound generator for this new Ghost Against Ghost album.

I had not recorded acoustic drums since experimental drum sessions with drummer Blake Fleming in 2008, but I was interested in revisiting the instrument.  The Oia album mainly focuses on electronic percussion and drum sounds, however, with Still Love I chose to dig back into the explosive potential of real, acoustic drums and to arrange them against thick, analog synth textures. I had watched drummer Thomas Pridgen (Mars Volta, Suicidal Tendencies, Trash Talk) over the years and really admired both his technique and extraordinary power. I wrote to him last summer about doing a project together, he was very interested, but at the time was on the road with Suicidal Tendencies. Surprisingly, three weeks before we were scheduled to record drums for the Still Love album, as I was looking for the right drummer for the project, Thomas called and said he was unexpectedly available that month. We flew him out from California and spent 3 days experimenting with drum approaches for the record. The superhuman performances by Thomas and the parts we worked out during those periods were incredibly inspiring, greatly enhancing the dynamic shape of the album.

 

At some point during the production, I realized I could use some help with the final mixing. As so often happens in the studio, you reach a point after endless hours and endless weeks, that you can’t tell what sounds good to you any more as the macro perspective has been lost and you are too focused on the molecular elements of the song. I called around to some friends, and eventually was in touch with Adam Katz who manages some great producers and mixers. Adam suggested a bunch of great guys, but highly suggested Gareth Jones because of his deep historical track record with Depeche Mode and Mute records, as well as his experience with post-rock and experimental artists like Mogwai and Einstürzende Neubauten. I looked over Gareth’s past experience, was excited,  and Skyped with him. We ended up discovering we shared a lot of similar production interests,  and also personal viewpoints, so we decided to try the collaboration. Gareth flew out to our studio in upstate New York where we created stems by experimenting with a lot of outboard analog processing, interspersed with philosophical and social debates, as well as the a few catskill hikes. Gareth then took the final stems back to the UK to do additional work at his Strongroom Studio space, and a month later I met him in London to wrap up the final mix together."


 

1) Son of Cessiphus (3:56)

2) still love (10:15)

3) A Relapse of Remembrance (3:27)

4) The River of the Intimate, pt. 1 (6:12)

5) The River of the Intimate, pt. 2 (7:37)

6) Resume (8:44)

7) Your Secret Ocean (8:24)

8) Unarm (8:30)

9) Guerison (7:20)

 

All tracks written, arranged and produced by Christopher Bono

Mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound

©2016 Our Silent Canvas