Ghost Box continue their run of deeply nostalgic, yet otherworldly records with the introduciton of the first Pneumatic Tubes LP. It’s always interesting to see a new band woven into the stable, especially in a label whose aesthetics are so deeply ingrained into its being, but Pneumatic Tubes, the chosen moniker for Jesse Chandler (Midlake, Mercury Rev) steps ably up to the psychedelic synth task at hand. The record was recorded in the wake of the death of Chandler’s father, an almost immediate reaction to the loss. Chandler composed the suite in his childhood home, echoing feelings of nostalgia for the Adirondaks and Catskills, naming the album after a childhood summer camp that played host to multiple generations of his family. Fusing synth with gorgeous washes of flute and clarinet, the record pushes beyond Library aesthetics and into a deeper kosmiche synth journey, feeling like it could soundtrack nature films and Omni documentaries at the same time.
Despite the summer source material, the record skews rather Autumnal and pastoral. There’s a slight chill in the air, though in a record about loss the pang of change can’t help but sprout under the surface. There’s a clarity present in A Letter From TreeTops. The feeling of looking backward and forward simultaneously that can come with taking stock in the wake of upheval. There’s sadness, sure, but moreso there’s hope, peace, and a verdant sense of wonder. With a few friends on board to help flesh out the pieces he’d written, including Marissa Nadler on vocals and members of Midlake and the Robert Gomez Trio, Chandler adds a record of mercurial beauty to the GB stable.
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