Posted July 16, 2020 by Jeff in Tunes

Electronic Supergroup Ghost Liotta Takes Organic Approach on Full-Length Debut

Ghost Liotta photo by Kristin Burns
Ghost Liotta photo by Kristin Burns

The Los Angeles-based experimental/electronic supergroup Ghost Liotta just released the glitchy single “object one.” It comes from their forthcoming self-titled debut full-length. A new collaboration between musicians and producers James McAlister (the National), Christopher Wray (Butch Walker), Zac Rae (Death Cab For Cutie) and John Spiker (Tenacious D), the group incorporates vintage and modular synths, live drums and a pedal steel guitar. 

The group launched three years ago when McAlister, Wray and Rae convened after getting off the road with their respective groups. At the time, the group recorded a series of improvised sessions at Rae’s longtime studio, the Bank. 

“The record was collaborative and creative at every possible stage,” says McAlister in a statement. “There was space for us each, in our creative voices, to make big statements. I was constantly surprised at how much of a sonic landscape we covered with so few elements. Each part was deeply considered but still raw and not overworked.” 

A fire that permanently closed the Bank took out the band’s momentum. The music was unfinished and feared gone until a couple of years later when the hard drives were rediscovered and handed over to mixer/producer and bassist John Spiker.

“There was no one we trusted with this project more than Spiker,” says Wray. “If it wasn’t for him we wouldn’t have an album. He kept sending us tracks he’d found in those sessions and we were blown away. He’s truly the fourth member of the band.”

The end result is a unique mixture of instrumentation all performed live in the room. The microphones picked up breathing and squeaking of chairs. All of the synths were run through amplifiers. Instruments are processed and transformed in unexpected ways and while the music explores many genres. 

“There are amazing soft synth plugins out there, but we wanted to make something with the tools we love that exist as three dimensional objects in the spaces we occupy,” Wray says. “Not a single sound on the album comes from a plugin.”

Photo credit: Kristin Burns