Producer and label owner Chris Schlarb began his latest album four years ago as an act of self-therapy, but it soon became a full-scale project. While it's his debut as a solo artist, Schlarb brought in more than 50 musicians to help with the recording — a 40-minute modern composition spanning the folk, avant-garde, jazz and electronic scenes.
Schlarb has long been involved in free-jazz groups like I Heart Lung and Create (!), produced hip-hop tracks for Omid and Soul-Junk, and runs Sounds Are Active, a record label focused on experimental jazz, electronic and hip-hop music.
For Twilight and Ghost Stories, Schlarb wove snippets from other artists into a careful pastiche. Its order and length are displayed in the CD's album jacket, though following the diagram is a challenge. The music of Liz Janes, Phillip Glass associate Mick Rossi, free-jazz musician Tom Abbs, Dirty Projectors' Dave Longstreth and Castanets' Raymond Raposa fill the dense and pastoral piece in the midst of found tape machine messages and nature field recordings.
There is always the danger of the story consuming the art. When the emotional background of a piece of work — be it a painting, a sculpture, or in this case, an album — becomes the setting, it runs the risk of losing artistic integrity. However, Twilight & Ghost Stories recognizes its personal vulnerabilities and reveals a stunning collage.