Pilot Balloon – Ghastly Good Cheer
12 songs, 40.9 minutes long
Ghastly Good Cheer is Pilot Balloon’s first and only LP, released in 2004 on the 2nd Rec label. 2nd Rec is currently on an “indefinite hiatus,” and it’s unfortunate because this album is a gem. A darkened side of hip hop or trip hop, Ghastly Good Cheer straddles several genres. The album is unsettling, and the beats start and stop. There is a lot of empty space in the album, not in pauses, but silence between the beats. In many ways, Pilot Balloon is crafting beautiful silence among schizophrenic beats rather than drowning away the silence. Singing is muffled and quiet for most of the album, but suddenly lyrics emerge some twenty minutes in; the sudden introduction of rapping is as jarring as the rest of the album. Maybe Pilot Balloon was unsuccessful because it’s not music that would appeal to the masses, but I find it haunting and beautiful, like an abandoned cathedral.
You can still find Ghastly Good Cheer for sale at places like InSound but if you send an email to 2nd rec, they accept PayPal and then the struggling label will see more of the money that they need to keep promoting under-appreciated artists like Pilot Balloon. This album, more than the others I have posted, I recommend both because it is astounding, but also because if the artists don’t get any attention, it may be the last of its kind.