Ghosts Of The Forest is a deeply personal project from Trey Anastasio, better known as the leader of Phish. Ghosts of the Forest isn’t a mere solo record - it’s a raw and emotive record inspired by the death of his childhood friend and blood brother Chris Cottrell, among other recent trials and tragedies. Not quite a rock opera or a concept album, the album is described as “some kind of mid-life crisis on a record” - a pendulum swinging back and forth between grief and and hope. The album was recorded at The Barn in Vermont’s Green Mountains with the help of Phish drummer Jon Fishman and Trey Anastasio Band’s bassist Tony Markellis. Sonically, it hews pretty close to the contemporary Phish sound, with some studio spin n’ polish by Vance Powell (Jack White, Phosphorescent, Diarrhea Planet), including field recordings that underpin the entire album. “I went through a period of deep self-doubt after recording it,” said Trey to Rolling Stone, “I didn’t want to put it out. Maybe I was scared.” The record has limited overdubs, allowing Anastasio free reign to shred across its nine tracks. “About To Run” starts with a fierce blues riff and obedient snares that give way to drum rolls that float in air and quirky organ. “Ruby Ways” is sonically dense, with hopeful backing vocals and Dead-style acoustic-electric mingling with solid keyboard solos. Closing track “Beneath A Sea Of Stars” is the most apparent use of ambient sounds, 23 minutes of jamming through endless time signatures. This LP arrives packaged in a numbered, double-wide metallic sleeve with op-art inspired printed inners.
- 180g black double vinyl pressing
- double-wide metallic sleeve and printed inners
- individually numbered limited edition
- music label: Jemp Records 2019
reviewed by PETER BLACKBRIDGE 06/2019