Man in the machine

Ghost to Falco Moxie’s, Sat., March 27

As the glare from a pastry case filled the mostly empty dining room of Moxie’s, Ghost to Falco quietly and rather efficiently set up a staggered set of suitcases, synthesizers, amplifiers and televisions. And what shadows weren’t cast by the light from the pastry case and televisions were cast by a single purple lamp set next to the Ghost on stage.

Ghost to Falco is Portland, Ore., resident Eric Crespo. Crespo is a one-man band who plays music made of loud washes of repetitive loops made from simple keyboard melodies and echoing guitar undercut by fits and starts, brash-trashy sounds of electric feedback and thin nasal keyboards. He began the evening with a loud wash of feedback from his electric guitar cut with chugging rushes of sound reminiscent of trains and wind that ended abruptly, merging into the rest of his set. On this night the effect of all this rushing and repeating was a feeling of falling in emptiness, or perhaps being caught in a very large tin drum.

At best Crespo approached art rock minimalism and at worst fell to boring indie rock. He depended too much on a small array of stylistic indie-rock tricks that even his somewhat touching and emotive voice couldn’t make much of: clanky guitar, droning repetitive chord progressions, false emotional vocalisms and dark psychological imagery.

On top of all this decayed sound, Crespo’s tenor voice, one of the few sounds that wasn’t echoed or made into a loop, tried to evoke images of strangled or deferred dreams, however the stark existence of the show created an empty bored feeling that was only marginally and briefly amended by his charming and witty comments—a brief bit of humanity couldn’t save Ghost to Falco from falling into decadence.