Ghost Coast Choir
Ghost Coast Choir presents a new musical expression rooted in the sound of the classical choir with current lyrics and ambient electronics created by Gustav Rasmussen & Thorben Seierø, both of who have backgrounds in indie-music/rock & experimental music. Ethereal vocals are manipulated by samples, guitar pedals and old tape machines in songs that revolve around the personal and the pain of losing. All without involving the higher powers.
About 10 years ago, waiting in the take-off lounge of some airport, Seierø and Rasmussen started talking about choral music. A friend had recommended some modern choral music to listen to en route to the festival they were flying out to, and immediately they were smitten by the luscious sound and the beautiful melodies and harmonies. The music was clearly rooted in the classics, but had a distinctly modern aesthetic, and they dove right into this beautiful sonic world.
One year later, they were booked to play a huge concert at Roskilde Festival as a collaborative event with 9 other indie-rock bands from Copenhagen, and decided to try our hands at composing an a cappella choral piece to start off the concert. They got deeper into it a few years later at Haldern Pop Festival in Germany for a collaboration with the choir Cantus Domus. After hearing their music come to life through 30-40 singers, there was no turning back: they simply had to start a new musical project with the choir at centre-stage.
The Missing Sound
Even though it all started with a love for the classical choir sound, they knew from the outset that we wanted to take that sound in a different direction. On the one hand, they were discovering this brilliant sonic world. On the other, they were longing for lyrics that they could understand and relate to as people living today.
Traditionally, the subject matter for choral music is Christianity and even today it’s often composed and sung in Latin, a language that no one has spoken for several hundred years (think “Kyrie Eleison”). For Seierø and Rasmussen’s vision, it was a bit too “Oxford University”. Instead, they thought about choral music that could deal with climate change, ecological destruction, or the difficulties in being in a relationship on a more direct day-to-day level; specifically, choral music that wants to engage with the world of now – spiritual, ethereal, but also immediate and down to earth. That’s what they wanted to do.
Adding to that, they heard the voices inhabiting and interacting with soundscapes inspired by monumental post-rockers like Mogwai or Explosions in the Sky and the pensive minimalism of Olafur Arnalds or A Winged Victory For The Sullen. So they started messing about with guitar pedals, granular synthesis, cutting up and sampling the recorded vocals, creating a vocal synth with a four-track tape recorder, doing tape loops on an old reel-to-reel, and adding the odd instrument. Playing with the tenderness of the human voice versus the unfeelingness of electronics seemed to fit right into the reflective nature of the music – human meets machine.
Music for a new time and a new audience
Ghost Coast Choir are offering a new vision of what and to whom choral music can communicate. They take sounds that resonate and combine them to create a new musical landscape. With it, they can hopefully reach across the aisle to make people tune into genres they never thought they would, but now do because they’re able to listen – and really hear it – with a new understanding.
In that respect, Rasmussen and Seierø are creating choral music for people that don’t (yet) know they like choral music.
Ghost Coast Choir's debut album “Ghost Coast Choir” is out on ExoPAC/Nordic Music Society.
”Surprising and well done. And right from the start it’s magnetic, almost cinematic. Deeply fascinating and incredibly beautiful.” - GAFFA (DK)
”Choral singing and finely balanced soundscapes, sourced from a mix of indie music, rock & experimental music, creates goose bumps. Mutates into a modern, expressive new choral music” - Der Kultur Blog (DE)
"Dark and expensive, this neo-classical choral music ruminates on the subject of loss with devastatingly affecting results." - God Is In The TV (UK)
"Music both timeless and timely...ambient and majestic soundscapes reminiscent of both Nils Frahm or William Basinski" – Kulturfreak.de (DE)