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2. India Gailey – Ghost (2020)
First titled “Australia’s Ghost,” I wrote this piece early in 2020, when Australia was on fire. I’ve never been to Australia, but living on this Earth, I feel an unavoidable connection to the place. I did spend several months house-sitting for an Australian friend many years ago. The works of art she had on the wall and her decorative colour choices always felt to me like a glimpse of the land as translated through her.
Anyway, I was feeling rather tender about Australia burning and all that such an event represented. Many people say that we are far past the point of being able to halt the human-induced climate change rapidly transforming the planet we inhabit. The extinction of humanity may or may not be on the immediate horizon, but it does seem that things are going to be rough while we attempt to clean up a bit.
“Ghost” came out of contemplating the many sentient deaths inflicted by the Earth’s fever, the lingering skeleton landscapes, the heartbroken wind. Like many of my compositions, it is not strictly through-composed—there is a bit of detail variation in how the colours manifest between each performance. At the end, it loosely quotes the Dies irae (“the Day of Wrath”), a classic Latin requiem tune. I went on to perform this piece on tour across Canada, just before covid swept the nation, aware of the gasoline I was launching into the atmosphere, riding the thrill of adventure and contradiction. Mourning more destructive flames raging across the planet, I later changed the title to “Ghost” as it became clear that the piece was not bound to any particular place, that the ghost is a wanderer.
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This has become one of the most important albums of my life. It’s essence is indescribable. Every sound from the start of the record through the end is placed delicately and with care. The album cover is by Julie Mehretu. It’s absolutely an incredible release for which I shall be eternally grateful. Aniket