No sooner had I finished gushing about Kit Watkins’ live 2 CD set, The Gathering, then three new CDs showed up in my mailbox. I had not heard of Tone Ghost Ether before, and so it was with glee and amazement that the name Kit Watkins appears as one of the players in this trio. The other two are John Tlusty and Brad Allen, and the three share equal billing in this ensemble.
The three CDs, too, make up an ensemble. All three were recorded live in early 2001, as the trio met, and improvised on Sundays afternoons (and what a way to spend Sunday afternoons!). It would seem so much music was produced during these gatherings that it took three full CDs to contain them all. And thus, all three are reviewed here as a body of work, and not as individual works.
Present are the flourishes and horn effects that mark Watkins’ unique style.
Added are the talents of Tlusty and Allen, also multi-instrumentalists. All tracks were improvised and recorded in real time. I had the great opportunity to listen to these CDs while driving in and around the mesas, gorges and beach areas of San Diego, and their affect was striking: viewing the cove at La Jolla (a picture postcard in itself) to the haunting, ambient, acid-jazz, electronic, fusion created by three talented musicians who have obviously found a groove together was an experience bordering on spiritual!
I continue to struggle to find the words to describe the effect of listening to these albums. If you’re a fan of Kit Watkins’ work, you will have some idea of the power and artistry of the music. If you have never availed yourself of any of the works of this trailblazing artist, you could well start by putting one of Tone Ghost Ether’s CDs on the player. My order of preference is The White Space followed by Hydrogen 2 Oxygen and then Condor Sail Curve, but that could be only because that’s the order I first listened to them. Fans of electronic ambient/acid fusion music owe it to themselves to take a whiff of Tone Ghost Ether.
—Fred Puhan, Ambient Visions