Few recent releases approach the textural and musically detailed devotion of Musée Mécanique's debut long-player, Hold This Ghost. The wondrous product of Micah Rabwin and Sean Ogilvie (a former member of instrumental giants Tristeza), the album is masterfully assembled like a musical ship-in-a-bottle via thrift store instruments, castaway equipment, and just about anything else the band could get their hands on. It's a delicate recording, one that requires dimmed lights, headphones, and a focused listener to extract all the layered beauty of the album.
MERCURY: One of the first things that struck me about Hold This Ghost is how well orchestrated and assembled the album is. Given the bevy of instruments in the Musée Mécanique arsenal, is it a difficult task to decide on what you should, and should not, use in any given song?
RABWIN: Oh, the arsenal. It's a little staggering sometimes, walking through the house and having to navigate our way around all the instruments. It definitely wasn't always that way, however. We moved here a few years ago with a couple of acoustic guitars and one or two bulky keyboards.
OGILVIE: Fortunately for us, we moved to a town happy to sell us instruments for cheap. We're really close to the Goodwill bins, Portland garage sales are fantastic for old toy instruments, and we ended up working a day job for the longest time remodeling houses, where things have a way of being thrown to the less-fortunate types.
RABWIN: As for deciding which instruments to use, we try and use our limitations to our advantage. This album was made based on what was lying around or whatever garage sale we hit on the way home from work. As we acquire new things, we throw them into the songs and see how they sound.
As a former San Diego resident myself, Hold This Ghost seems like a record that couldn't be made in San Diego. It seems very influenced by its surroundings.
OGILVIE: Hold This Ghost has a lot to do with living in the Northwest. We could have never been able to make this album in San Diego. We tried. If geography makes records, it's distinctly Portland's creation—more specifically, Southeast Portland. Our neighborhood, the people we've met, and the surroundings have influenced the sound and the songs profoundly.
RABWIN: Even logistically, it would have been an almost impossible record to make in San Diego. We came north for a change and with the idea in mind that we would be able to live cheaper and dedicate ourselves to it more easily. We didn't foresee exactly how perfect Portland would be for that purpose at the time but, to be sure, it has been one of the best decisions we could have made.
Musée Mécanique perform on Thursday, September 25, at Holocene.