Twilight & Ghost Stories (Album)





A work of personal identity and deep catharsis, Twilight & Ghost Stories is a dense 40-minute modern composition featuring a disparate cross-section of musicians from the avant-garde, independent folk, jazz and electronic communities. A creative and accomplished jazz guitarist, Chris Schlarb cut his teeth producing hip-hop tracks, teaching music workshops and co-founding the free music collective Create (!). In 2004 he collaborated with installation artists Megan and Murray McMillan, and with fine artist Tom Steck formed I Heart Lung, which Tiny Mix Tapes called “some of the most energetic free-jazz to spit out of America.” Spanning all of these endeavors, Twilight & Ghost Stories finds Schlarb playing acoustic piano, organ, electric and acoustic guitar as well as tapes and percussion.

Calling upon a diverse number of collaborators, Chris began to solicit musical phrases, incidental conversations, stories and textures. Few artists were offered more than a vague description of the project and none of the artists involved heard the final mix until the album’s release. Mick Rossi, percussionist and pianist in the Philip Glass Ensemble, sent a duet recording with saxophonist John O’ Gallagher; Dave Easley, who as part of the Brian Blade Fellowship once backed Joni Mitchell, provides a pedal steel guitar that synchronizes perfectly with Sebastian Krueger‘s voice and acoustic guitar. Fellow Asthmatic Kitty artists also contributed: Sufjan Stevens‘ emotive piano is bookended by Triptych Myth‘s Tom Abbs and nmperign‘s Bhob Rainey; Half-Handed Cloud‘s John Ringhofer‘s voice, piano and percussion echoes throughout as does vocalist Liz Janes; and Castanets frontman Raymond Raposa spins out a brief guitar duet as Curious Digit/Royal Trux alum Parker Paul whispers a short story about gothic middle America.

Ten minutes in, Schlarb cross-fades a recording of his son’s in-womb heartbeat with white noise and together they become one indistinguishable sound. Elsewhere, Black Mountain‘s Stephen McBean muses inaudibly about music boxes as Schlarb’s own children scream and play in the background, bassoons droning and bass clarinets chattering all the while. Schlarb layers these taped conversations and background ambiance as a way of reframing moments in time from their indigenous chronology. He does the same with geographic location. Recorded on the streets of Montmarte, Paris, inside an Icelandic home designed by Albert Speer, and throughout the United States, Schlarb assembled his orchestra of strangers for the last time as he recorded the final mix in his Long Beach apartment on June 1st, 2007.



Twilight & Ghost Stories in New York City
Twilight & Ghost Stories in Austin and San Francisco
Twilight & Ghost Stories in Athens

See also Twilight Variations.


“This is improvised music as art at its very best.”- Ian Patterson, All About Jazz

“Chris Schlarb’s Twilight & Ghost Stories is one of the most unique musical projects to come along in years… a monumental achievement.”- Nathan Atnikov, FFWD Weekly

“Top 10 Albums of 2007… an experiment in sound rather than a traditional album… a fascinating experience.”- Katherine Fulton, All Music Guide

“40 minutes of avant-garde bliss.”- Jake Brooks, New York Observer

Twilight is jazz in the same sense as the genre-smashing stuff the Art Ensemble of Chicago played from the late ‘60s through the early ‘80s. Which is to say that it both epitomizes and transcends the genre. In a world that allows the paranoid, antisocial, and self-obsessed to abuse art as a forum for vapid ‘self-expression,’ Twilight & Ghost Stories is not a Statement, but a gift.”- Tiny Mix Tapes

“A triumph of minimalist folktronic gorgeousness.”- Ali Maloney, The Skinny

“Schlarb is a talented arranger, producer and all around master of ceremonies, and Twilight & Ghost Stories ends up being a cathartic, improbably organic, and engaging CD.”- Christian Carey, Signal To Noise

“One of the years more ambitious recordings.”- Robin Hilton, NPR’s Second Stage

“Top 10 Albums of 2007… These aren’t songs per se, but an amalgam of feelings that Schlarb and his vast array of contributors want to convey to the listener.”- Dave Cantor, The Cleveland Free Times

Twilight is a unique and remarkably universal record, and one that offsets its projected loneliness with a great sense of warmth. Indeed, it’s perfect for listening to in the very circumstances that birthed the concept, when you’re alone with the weather, wondering what to do.”- Joe Tangari, Pitchforkmedia

Twilight & Ghost Stories is a finely woven tapestry of myriad voices; meteorological elements; and deftly executed jazz, folk and post-rock, all rendered in muted watercolor daubs.”- Dave Segal, OC Weekly

“an unqualified success… it’s impossible to believe that you’ve really been listening to music (it must have been a dream.) Even more difficult to comprehend will be the fact that it has not, after all, been raining.”- Timothy Zila, Patrol Magazine

“Chris Schlarb creates beautiful, symphonic compositions.”- John Zeiss, Prefix Magazine

“A freeform, ambient composition featuring cameos by 50 musicians makes exquisite sonic wallpaper, no insult intended”- Lorraine Carpenter, Montreal Mirror

“a delightful listen”- XLR8R Magazine

“But in Twilight & Ghost Stories, his first solo album, Schlarb turns his soul, rather than his instrument, inside out.”- Phillip Buchan, Flagpole

“Rest assured, whether it’s rain or shine you came for, this disc does it. The musical musings contained herein harbor an honest array of promises and pangs. Both come distilled. Whatever you want, and whenever, here it is.”- Jonathan Scott, Stereo Subversion

“It is significant when the contributions of more than 40 musicians can be used to create a work as intimate as this… Twilight And Ghost Stories is a quiet epic…”- Craig Schum, Beyond Race Magazine

“It’s actually a quite nice minimal, flowing electro-acoustic piece utilizing field recordings (mostly of rain) and improvised contributions…”- Keith Fullerton Whitman, Mimaroglu Music Sales

“There are far too many twists and turns to this record to really to list here, but the fact that it’s all cemented together by that omnipresent rainfall and traffic flow really does lend an overarching sense of coherence to this beautiful collection of vignettes.”-

“Album of the Week. This is a wonderfully resonant piece of work, a beautiful modern challenging composition and a piece of wonderfully creative art – most of all though this is just simply a very beautiful, highly original and very easy to listen to album that you’ll want to get lost in again and again.”- Organ Magazine

“Chris Schlarb’s debut album is, although more off the wall than anything this reviewer has listened to for a long time, a complex, but oddly moving sonic production… rather lovely after three listens.”- Will Dean, Drowned In Sound


All About Jazz by Ian Patterson
The District Weekly by Chris Ziegler
XLR8R Magazine by Josiah Hughes
Paper Thin Walls by Jessica Suarez
37signals by Matt Linderman

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