Ghost live in the 2000s.
|Genres||Psychedlic Rock, Experimental Folk, Free Jazz, Blues, Minimal, Ambient|
|Years active||1984 - 2014|
|Labels||Drag City, Holy Mountain Records, P.S.F.|
|Associated acts||Damon & Naomi, The Silence, Boris, The Stars, White Heaven|
|Website||Drag City Page|
Ghost were an experimental rock group formed in Tokyo, Japan, in 1984. They were best known for being the main project of Japanese musician Masaki Batoh, one of the earlier bands to feature Japanese psych guitarist Michio Kurihara and having a close relationship with American indie label Drag City for well over twenty years.
Their music ranges from minimal and meditative to blues and free jazz to energetic psychedelic rock with some musical themes protesting China's censorship on Tibet. Their live performances, especially in their early years, were typically held in unorthodox locations such as subways, warehouses and temples fitting to their nomadic nature.
Early years and P.S.F. (1984 - 1995)
Core-member Masaki Batoh grew up in Kyoto, Japan where he attended a private school. During this time, he became interested in American and British rock music ranging from Bob Dylan and Pink Floyd to the Velvet Underground and Japanese rock bands such as the Taj Mahal Travellers and the Flower Travellin' Band. In 1984 Masaki Batoh formed the band Ghost, with one of their earliest performances being simply a shirtless Batoh at Tokyo's Chinese embassy protesting China's occupation of Tibet (This is shown in the opening of the DVD of Metamorphosis).
Ghost's lineup in it's early years was often large and varying but with Batoh as the core member. The group lived a nomadic existence, drifting from ruins of ancient temples to disused subway stations around the Tokyo area and performing live at these places at times. Japanese psychedelic label P.S.F. Records signed the band in late 1989 as Ghost released their first two studio albums in the form of Ghost (1990) and Second Time Around (1992). A live album recorded in two separate churches entitled Temple Stone was also released in 1994. The the band would sign with German label Strange Ways.
In 1995 the band would release two 7" releases: The first being two unreleased live recordings in Moungod Air Cave b/w Guru in the Echo on The Now Sound (Who would also release two of Batoh's solo works.). The second would be two new studio tracks in Holy High / Filament. This was released on Holy Mountain Records in what was their first release. By the end of 1995 the band would sign with United States indie label Drag City, remaining with them for the rest of their career. In the meantime the band would tour Europe, the USA and Japan. The band would also meet the dream pop duo Damon and Naomi, who they frequently toured with.
The Drag City Years (1996 - 2007)
Once signed to Drag City, Ghost would release their third album Lama Rama Rabi in 1996 with the first two albums and live album being reissued by the label the following year. On 20 April 1999 the band would release two more albums at the same time in Snuffbox Imminence and Tune In, Tune On, Free Tibet. A collaborative album entitled Damon and Naomi with Ghost followed the next year, recorded in late 1999 going into 2000.
The band would tour the USA in 2000, 2002 and 2006 which included headlining appearances at Terrastock (2002 recorded for Metamorphosis). In 2004 the band would release their sixth album in the form of Hypnotic Underworld. The next year the band would release a CD/DVD set via Drag City entitled Metamorphosis featuring over two hours of live footage spanning twenty years and unreleased studio recordings from the 1980s. The band would have two releases in 2007: Their seventh (and final) studio album entitled In Stormy Nights and a live album befit to Ghost's experimental approach at live performances in Overture: Live in Nippon Yusen Soko 2006.
Final Years and Aftermath (2008 - 2014)
While Ghost would tour Europe in 2007 and the United States in 2008 and 2009, the members of the band concentrated on other projects, notably Michio Kurihara performing for Boris and Masaki Batoh concentrating on his solo works.
- Ghost (1990)
- Second Time Around (1992)
- Lama Rabi Rabi (1996)
- Snuffbox Immanence (1999)
- Tune In, Turn On, Free Tibet (1999)
- Hypnotic Underworld (2004)
- In Stormy Nights (2007)
- Temple Stone (1994)
- Metamorphosis: Ghost Chronicles 1984 - 2004 (2005)
- Overture: Live in Nippon Yusen Soko 2006 (2007)
- Moungod Air Cave b/w Guru in the Echo (1995)
- Holy High b/w Filament (2003)
- Damon and Naomi with Ghost (2000)
NOTE: While there have been a multitude of collaborators to the band Ghost over their 30-year career, this is the last known lineup of the band.
- Masaki Batoh - Acoustic Guitar, Vocals (1984 - 2014)
- Kazuo Ogino - Piano, Electronics
- Junzo Tateiwa - Drums, Percussion
- Michio Kurihara - Electric Guitar
- Takuyuku Moriya - Bass
- Taishi Takizawa - Theremin, Flute, Saxophone