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“Ghostophonia” by Silent Strike & Makunouchi Bento

I’ve raved before about Makonouchi Bento (Felix Petrescu and Valentin Toma) because they have a certain genius for coming up with a story concept and fleshing it out with creative soundscapes. Their latest, “Ghostophonia,” is no exception. This time they’ve collaborated with Silent Strike (Ioan Titu) to create some fantastic noise around the idea of ghosts, both real and imagined.

The team says “Ghostophonia” is a concept album “loosely based on the folklore music from the region of Banat, Romania, collected and recorded by Bela Bartók…” That’s where the real ghosts come in, as some of those voices are threaded throughout this album’s tracks in subtle ways that enhance the “goings on.” This is done skillfully without relying too heavily on the old recordings, so it doesn’t turn into a nostalgia trip. And as for those imagined ghosts, well, on the release page for this album the song titles are woven into a short written description of the musical journey through the hidden underworld of Ghostophonia. Those specters that arise over the course of this album don’t seem to be up to much good, even through the end of this story. While they are “Descending to the Center of the Earth” in the final song, it leaves us with an appropriately unsettled conclusion.

As a bonus, there’s also a mesmerizing video where you can get a taste of the music as well as a look at Silent Strike and Makunouchi Bento performing live: