It’s not surprising to learn that Eliot wrote his first piano tune about a plumbing accident at age six, or that Mike started taking drumming lessons from jazz masters at an early age,and that they’ve performed in funk, hip-hop, jazz, Haitian, and R&B groups.
Since their fateful meeting in 2001 at a wedding gig in Boston, they’ve found themselves playing for kids at community centers and high schools, real estate agents and lawyers at parties, department store shoppers, and ex-cons at a college. In 2004, after the demise of their ambitious, but ill-fated, jazz band Best of Boston, the two rejoined forces as part of the New York outfit Flying.
With Flying they recorded ‘Faces of the Night’ and toured the US for two years. Following the dissolution of Flying, Mike and Eliot found they could make big sounds on their own. Excited about the freedom and space they had to work with as a two-man group, they quickly began work on what would become Idol Omen. Though they’ve been compared to other keyboard and drum duos like The Silver Apples, their minimalism, use of space, and unearthly vibes are more akin to the work and spirit of artists like Arthur Russell, This Heat, and J. Dilla.
Glass Ghost represents the birth of a new musical force distilled from myriad influences, from J. Dilla to Deerhoof. The result is something completely refreshing, and fittingly, a little scary. It’s the pairing of Eliot Krimsky’s fragile and haunting falsetto with the group’s bottom-heavy, hip-hop influenced rhythm section that yields the crystalline world propelled by Mike Johnson’s ass-shakin’ beats found on their debut Idol Omen.
The unique world they’ve crafted serves as the perfect vehicle for the album’s paranoid narrative, loosely following the metamorphosis of a modern businessman into some mysterious new form.
The arc of Idol Omen’s tale is revealed in fragments as the detached protagonist wanders, observes, and occasionally interacts, with his surreal, often threatening, environment. While fear, anxiety and delusion effervesce from tracks like “Mechanical Life” and “The Same” the album ebbs and flows from frenzied to fatigued. Alternately, the beautiful and unforgettable “Like a Diamond” invokes reflections of resolute melancholy, while “Divisions” holds listeners captive in the bizarre images of a fever dream. The final track “Ending” provides a sense of release, as an unexplained confluence of events triggers the central character’s eventual mutation and transcendence.