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A review of It Don't Exist in the Seattle Weekly:
By Gwendolyn Elliott Tue., Aug. 28 2012 at 5:00 AM
It Don't Exist
Out now, Self-released, origamighosts.com
Somewhere in between the anti-folk of The Moldy Peaches and the jangled guitar pop of Modest Mouse is It Don't Exist, the third full length from 6-piece unit Origami Ghosts, chock full of hyper-earnest ballads, "meow/meow" refrains, and infectious, accordion-inflected indie rock.
Origami Ghosts play the High Dive on Friday, September 7th at 9 p.m.
Here was a nice show preview for our recent show in Pittsburgh @ Howler's Coyote Cafe...
Howlers / 9:00
Words by Brendan
It’s still August, but the nights have been getting cooler, and these recent rainstorms are making it feel more and more like fall. Let me tell you, I’m a fan. It’s the right kind of weather for sitting at home with the windows open and streaming some folk tunes through the speakers … but I’ve still got that summer attitude, so I don’t mind if those tunes get a little heavy and rockin’. You know what I mean? If you’re with me, this show tonight at Howlers in Bloomfield is sure to be right up your alley.
Seattle’s Origami Ghosts are swinging through town on a cross-country-and-back tour, and joining them for the evening are Pittsburgh-area bands Essential Machine and Yarn Wallows, both of whom we’ve lauded here before, and for good reason. It’s a solid bill of folk and rock music and, come on, what else are you gonna be doing on a Thursday night in the summertime?
John Paul Scesniak calls Bellevue, WA (a suburb of Seattle) home, and that is where he’s been crafting his own songs since the 1990s. What started as a kind of “bedroom pop” project with performances at open mics and art galleries has evolved into a full-fledged songwriting machine with a revolving band of fellow musicians going on tour and performing with Scesniak. As Origami Ghosts, he puts together some finger-picked acoustic guitars, some melodic instrumentation (accordion and cello, among others), some soft-but-insistent vocals (both his own and others), and intricate percussion (bass and drums, sometimes two) and builds a song that is equally describable as folk and rock. Listening to their latest album—It Don’t Exist, released on July 7, 2012—I hear currents of Modest Mouse (the Brock-like vocals, spoken-sung and alternately shouted, the twangy bass that rumbles underneath), Wilco (the acoustic pop styles, the hooks, the inventive drumming), and The Shins (the catchy lyrics and turns of phrase). Overall, it’s the relentlessly upbeat tempos, the jangly guitar coupled with the accordion, and the way Scesniak’s voice pierces it all and leaves me waiting for his words … everything just seems to fall into place and keep my ear tuned in for more.
Some reviews for "it don't exist" are coming in...
Artist: Origami Ghosts
Title: It Don’t Exist
Label: S/R (2012)
Led by Seattle’s/Bellevue’s John Paul Scesniak (Paper People, Goodbye…Polar Bear!!!, various variations on his given name), Origami Ghosts are jangly, sincere, and adorable, with enthusiastic incorporation of accordion and/or cello on nearly every track. If pressed, I would say that the lyrics tend to be in the camp of “good-natured hippie bizarre.” This is the band’s third album, and the alternately cutesy and haunting content is kind of a less-English-major-y Tarkio (minus the distinctive vocals), or maybe if late-career Modest Mouse ever cheered the eff up.
The disc’s title (and thus two of the track names) is from a Detroit graffiti artist who apparently goes around spraypainting “IT DON’T EXIST” on things. “Volcano” (4) is based on the Wallace Stegner short story by the same name. “Ski Man” (7) is the only song with a female lead vocal. “Orange Hat” (1) features meowing by a human in the chorus and by a cat (?) as the track fades out; if you’re the kind of person who finds it exciting that this band will be included on a forthcoming Jim Henson tribute compilation, you’ll probably want to play it. Conversely, if that news horrifies you, you might just want to put this whole record back down.
All clean. Recommended: 1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 12, 13, 14
WXDU-Durham 88.7 FM.
Seattle based band Origami Ghosts is highly catchy, with warm layered vocal and pop-inspired instrumentals. Their sound is reminiscent of the first Modest Mouse records, which gives the album a sentimental feel. The album is an easy listen that is both pleasant and charming. Track 3 “Coal Dust Mountain,” track 4 “Volcano,” and track 10 “Snow Owl” are the main standouts. Origami Ghosts used an almost childlike approach to music due to this album’s homemade sound and sweet lyrics, making the album highly endearing.
Here's a preview for our show tonight at the Comet Tavern (10/23/11).
If you have ever wondered what a poppy-folk band with a punk-like attitude would sound like, look no further than Origami Ghosts! This Seattle band has been making happy music together since 2004 and like a fine wine has just gotten better with age. Origami Ghosts have not confined themselves to “classic” folk or rock instruments. They include a cello, an accordion and a synthesizer on many of their tracks giving each song its own special edge. Origami Ghosts is playing tonight with support from The Pilot Lights, Clearly Beloved, and Robert Deeble at The Comet Tavern so come by to hear some happiness!
4/14... a spectacular review in soundcheck magazine
John Paul Scesniak, founder of Seattle’s Origami Ghosts, did not learn to play the guitar until his late teens, but the quirky lyrics of the sophomore album, Short Momentum, make it seem as though musical ideas have been floating in his head since he was a kid.
Scesniak has a childlike imagination, which makes a wonderful partnership with the band’s wacky and colorful approach to pop music. His words could paint the pictures to a children’s book, while also provoking thought.
On “Rearranging Furniture” Scesniak sings, “If I was an iguana, you’d wish you could be a chameleon / You could hang out with all my pretty green friends / And then you’d know a lot about me”.
The nature metaphors also dominate on “Thai Frog”, “Trees they fall like spring does into summer when I’m in winter / I like the sound the trees make when they are first discovered”.
Scesniak bends his vocals to afflict different emotions, but instead of coming out obscure and pretentious, his voice and music create a warm and humble atmosphere. At times, the vocals sounds similar to Ben Bridwell of Band of Horses and Carissa’s Wierd, while at other times, he sounds like a male version of Kimya Dawson. Scesniak is not afraid of showing his curiosity and love for exploration, as displayed on “Story?”, “Where do thoughts go when you forget them?”, he asks.
Vivid lyrics make Origami Ghosts a contender for being labeled a straightforward pop band, but cello and fuzzy guitar add some edge. The cello sits around the edges and creates a tone similar to that of Cursive and Joan of Arc – although Origami Ghosts does not necessarily sound like either of those bands.
Likewise, if the band were stripped down to its bare bones, it would sound a lot like Death Cab for Cutie and The Shins, but the styling of Origami Ghosts is more lighthearted and zany.
– Karla Hernández
here's a link to a nice article / story that's in the tucson weekly...and it's mostly all true!!! (or read below)
Origami Ghosts are neither complicated nor scary; discuss
By ANNIE HOLUB
John Paul Scesniak decided to call his band Origami Ghosts, because he liked how it represented the idea of complicated nothingness. The Seattle native was teaching English in France and playing music with dulcimer player Joel Hanson.
Explained Scesniak, "The music sounded a little bit complicated because of the dulcimer. Well, to me it did. It probably wasn't that complicated. So I had this idea for a band that was complicated nothing--there's all this stuff going on, but it doesn't really mean anything."
Hence, the idea of folding a ghost made of paper. How would one even begin to approach that?
"Origami is really complicated and hard to do. I really hate origami, because it's frustrating," said Scesniak.
But in actuality, Origami Ghosts' music is not complicated nothingness, and it's far from frustrating--it's actually quite the opposite: minimalist everythingness, if you will, easy to listen to and surprisingly playful.
On Short Momentum (Hand to Mouth), the band's second album, Scesniak picks out melodies on his guitar as cello, and drums ebb and flow. (Dulcimer player Hanson no longer plays with the band.) It sounds vaguely punk, but at the same time, something like a calmer Pavement or even early Built to Spill.
"I'm not trying to make standard music," said Scesniak. "It's a little bit different, but it can also be a little pretty and nicely done."
Scesniak's lyrics tell stories, delivered with his earnest, not-quite-singing voice--stories which in some cases were written while Scesniak was teaching English overseas.
"Traveling really helps me write. When I'm not traveling, I find it a bit harder to find inspiration. Traveling is definitely a big part of my creativity," said Scesniak, who has taught English to people of all ages in places like Japan, China and France. "I think it's just being out of your comfort zone and being in places where you don't know what to expect, so your senses are really alert. It's fun traveling and writing about what you're seeing, because it's new. It's hard for me to sit there and write when I'm sitting in Seattle, a place that I know so well, and the people are pretty much the same."
Naturally, Scesniak has plenty of stories about playing music for his students. In France, for example, he and Hanson played in the school talent show. "Nobody got it, because the kids are all into the Carpenters and all this weird, cheesy music from the '50s. They're like 30 years behind, and we played our kind of weird ... well, it was weird for them, and we got a smattering of applause. It was funny."
When Scesniak was teaching in China, he taught his students Built to Spill's "Car."
"It was pretty conservative there," Scesniak explained. "A lot of the kids that I taught, their parents were growing up during the cultural revolution, so they couldn't really express themselves at all, and they didn't have a choice of music, and they couldn't even really explore everything they wanted to. So teaching them a song like 'Car,' where there are some lyrics that are pretty out there--actually talking about getting stoned and stuff like that--was pretty fun."
Clearly, Scesniak has no qualms about having fun with his music, and on Short Momentum, he wanted to make the songs more upbeat and happy than they were on his first record, Solving My Own Puzzles (Hand to Mouth, 2007).
"I just want to move around and have fun and get people moving around," he said. "Sometimes, people are dancing at our shows--that's really fun. It's fun to get people involved instead of just sitting there listening to the music. I don't want that. So I guess it was a conscious choice to make happier music."
And there are plenty of happy, fun moments on Short Momentum, like the cello intro on "Part and Feather," the bubbly "East Station," and the drums on "Story?" On the otherwise somber song "Dying Bulls, Dancing Gulls," Scesniak sings, "Think about the action before you stick your butt down into an accident," which is then followed by the word "butt" echoed several times.
Even the album title, Short Momentum, is playful. Maybe this playfulness comes from the fact that Scesniak started playing music later than most serious musicians, and played just because it's fun.
"I was never one of those rock 'n' roll kids who was, like, 10 years old in a band," said Scesniak. "I kind of missed out on all that. I played sports."
Here's a link to a nice article in the stockton record...check it out! (text is below)
Intelligent-pop musicians make their lyrical impressions
By Tony Sauro
Record Staff Writer
February 08, 2009
John Paul Scesniak has a genuine appreciation for language.
He taught English for four years in China, Japan, Brazil and France.
He disdains - as in doesn't "take seriously" - grammatically incorrect Internet mavens and blogsters who can't even spell his name. Of course, he does variously deploy Jean Paul, JP and John Paule de Bellevue.
He was inspired by the lyrical Scrabble of Stephen Malkmus, the Tokay High School graduate who helped form Pavement 20 years ago in Stockton.
Scesniak, whose similarly quirky band from Seattle - Origami Ghosts - plays tonight at Stockton's Plea for Peace Center, is eloquent about Malkmus and Pavement. St. Pierre, a young acoustic band from Stockton, opens.
"I love Pavement," said Scesniak, 32, whose group will be introducing its second album, "Short Momentum," tonight. "They're like the godfathers of stuff I'm trying to do. They just broke down boundaries about how to play music.
"They just did what they wanted to. People would be throwing stuff at them at Lollapalooza (a 1995 rock festival) and they just kept doing their thing."
Scesniak didn't start that musical process until taking a guitar class at the University of Washington.
Pavement, which Malkmus formally formed with fellow Tokay grad Scott Kannberg at Gary Young's Stockton studio in 1989, became one of the most influential independent rock bands of the '90s.
Before the beginning, Malkmus and Kannberg busked briefly at Stockton's Blackwater Cafe.
"I was impressed and humbled - honored - to share the same stage," said Scesniak, whose 5-year-old band played at the Blackwater on Sept. 14. "I like stream-of-consciousness, throwing words together and seeing how they sound.
"They don't always mean what they look like. That's what Stephen did. And also he was really smart."
Not a bad self-analysis.
The Origami Ghosts - "the name came from my idea to name a band something like 'complicated nothings,' " Scesniak said - play an intelligent style of edgy, folk-based pop music built around his free-form, slightly alienated lyrics and often vulnerable, bemused vocals.
Though the band's formative stage and first public appearance at a Seattle art gallery included hammered-dulcimer accompaniment (from Scesniak's friend Joel Hanson), its sound now revolves around Scesniak's angular, inventive guitar musings.
"It wasn't really a plan," Scesniak said. "My friend had a dulcimer and I didn't really have a sense of music. Now I really like cello."
Obviously. The cello inflections of Ki Johnsen, 33, add an intriguing, engaging element to the basics of drummer-guitarist Amir Estakharian, 27, and drummer James van Leuven, 37.
Scesniak developed some of the lyrical impressions on "Short Momentum" while he and van Leuven were living in Paris. Scesniak got stuck in the suburb of Elancourt (source of the new album's name), where he taught English to second- through fifth-grade students in 2006-07.
"About half the songs I wrote in that suburb," said Scesniak, painting a grim tableau that invoked Fyodor Dostoyevsky. "It was really isolated, really lonely. It was just kind of concrete. Like suburbs in Paris and other places, it's mostly people who are working in the city and there's nothing's going on.
"I lived in some old housing for teachers. It was concrete. Just really undesirable living conditions. But it was a good experience. I feel I write my best stuff when I'm in the worst places. It's good inspiration."
So was that college class taught by an "amazing" classical guitarist.
"I got into playing music late," said Scesniak, a native of Bellevue, Wash. "I always loved music, but I didn't think I could play. I wasn't pushed into music. No one said I had talent or anything."
Then came Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind."
"We had to sing and play it and he (the professor) was gonna grade you on it," Scesniak said. "I was nervous and shaking. I did well and he said I had a nice voice. It was the first time somebody told me I had a nice voice, so I just kept going."
Now, too many people note his vocal and stylistic relationship to Isaac Brock and Modest Mouse, from Issaquah, Wash.
"I'm just trying to be different," said Scesniak, whose music also reveals influences from Built to Spill (from Boise, Idaho) and Pavement. "I'm not really conformist. I'm not really the traditional kid who grew up shredding the guitar.
"I love Isaac Brock. I listened to them (Modest Mouse) all the time. I don't think I sound that much like him so that people have to compare me every time. I wish people would write about what I do, not about Isaac Brock."
Scesniak, who also creates the band's album art, said he'd like to write a book and, maybe, a "gypsy jazz song." He'd like to lighten up. Just a bit, though.
"I'm also trying to be funny," he said. "Someone called me morose. I really don't want to be morose. I like happy, good times."
And Stockton-born Pavement
"My brother turned me on to it," Scesniak said. "Now I listen to all their stuff. It amazes me. They did, like, 40 songs to a CD or something. I love it. My girlfriend has it on her iPod. So I can jog to it for an hour and 20 minutes."
Contact Tony Sauro at (209) 546-8267 or email@example.com.
HERE IS A REVIEW FROM THE PORTLAND MERCURY::::::::
(Valentine's, 232 SW Ankeny) Origami Ghosts have been described as Modest Mouse with a cello, but their sound is warmer and friendlier—which I suppose you can partly blame on the cello, from which Ki Johnsen draws out smooth, glowing lines that soften the edges of J.P. Scesniak's angular guitar playing. Origami Ghosts' second album, Short Momentum, is pleasing, unpretentious pop that can't be bothered with any of Isaac Brock's morose abyss gazing. There are a few white-knuckle moments, but Scesniak's songs are like a good cup of tea: soothing, gentle, suitable for both the morning and evening. NED LANNAMANN, PORTLAND MERCURY
NEW REVIEW (1/19/09) in Synthesis Magazine!!!
Origami Ghosts is the brainchild of Seattle-based singer/songwriter John Paul Scesniak. The music is ultra-melodic indie rock with a healthy dose of jangle and just the right amount of underlying drone and strings to smooth things out. The opening number is an up-tempo number called "Endless Corridors," and the album has nice variation between tempos and feels. "Rearranging Furniture" is a more thoughtful and evocative creation that conjures visions of raindrops running down the windows of a claustrophobic apartment - a lonely sanctuary tinged with quiet desperation. Violin and plucked guitar lead into "Harlem," another song dripping with melody. Scensniak's voice is high-pitched; droning cellos sneak in to offset that quality. Short Momentum is a contagious collection of well-crafted songs and well worth a listen.
(Hand To Media)
Release date: January 2009
A review in Meanstreet
With the Pacific Northwest producing indie pop bands like Battle Creek once produced breakfast cereals, there are bound to be a few overlooked on the shelf. Seattle’s Origami Ghosts, with its 3-minute, cello-spiked works of quirkiness, is trying hard not to be one of them. Led by singer/songwriter/guitarist John Paul Scesniak, the band sometimes sounds like a less Helter Skelter version of Modest Mouse, strings and ringing guitars punctuated by slightly off-kilter vocals. Its songs are propulsive, some (“East Station”) resembling Chutes Too Narrow-era Shins. Certainly not the most original songsmiths — the aformentioned acts are the more obvious regional influences — Origami Ghosts are nonetheless a worthy addition to the cerebral, folk-tinged purveyors of the Portland-to-Puget Sound.
review on download.com
John Paul Scesniak shows a slight vocal quaver copped from Pac Northwest hero Isaac Brock, but his wet and abstract folk is a more natural mixtape partner for early Devendra Banhart. Ideally, of course, he'll be the influencer, not the influencee, and with this sturdy tone, we'd call that likely.
sept. 07 review on opening bands dot com...
The first thing that came to mind when I put in Seattle's Origami Ghosts' debut album Solving My Own Puzzles... was how much of a debt they owe to another Seattle band, older and now disbanded: Carissa's Wierd [sic]. But don't just go and label Origami Ghosts as another chronically depressed Pacific Northwestern band, although they are quite melancholy. The lyrics of band leader John Paul Scesniak are more subtle and restrained than bleeding heart on the sleeve and angry. Scesniak uses the tension found within oneself when you are confused and lonely even if you're not alone. In the standout tracks "Clouds Look Down," "When the Sidewalk Ends," and "Pendulum," you and he know things will change for the better, just not when. His voice helps set the mood, never rising beyond the occasional crack and extremely reminiscent of Pall Jenkins but singing in his bedroom instead of a nightclub lounge.
Sometimes, though, Scesniak is especially unclear in what he is trying to get across, and the words can just get dismissed as something depressing, but when that does happen it doesn't necessarily take much away from the song because the music is pretty strong. The guitar work is usually handled by one or two acoustic guitars plucking out lines and occasionally tuning it up to a strum. Think Rob Crow's acoustic songs and "Third Planet" Modest Mouse along with well placed cello parts and a hammered dulcimer plinking throughout accompanying the guitar work. The pace of all the songs is kept pretty steady as well, never nearing the crawl Carissa's Wierd and The Black Heart Procession would sometimes go for.
The brevity of the album is a major plus. With all the songs around the three-minute mark, the listener can get through the whole album in one sitting and take the music in at one time. Plus, no one likes to be overloaded with glumness, and Solving My Own Puzzles... has just the right amount. I have to say, though, that the album will not immediately grab people as music needs to immediately to gain a new fan base. It will probably take a new listener some alone time with the album to concentrate on picking out what makes each song its own because without that kind of time to let things sink in, I'm afraid to say it might just all blend together into some shade of blue.
With Carissa's Wierd broken up and turning into the reverb-laden Crazy Horse-inspired Band of Horses, and The Black Heart Procession releasing one of the best reviewed but also most criminally ignored album of their career, Origami Ghosts could be the freshest group out there in their self-described "moody and spacious anti-folk/pop/punk/hop" genre.
review in intelligent pop 8/1/07
OK, I kinda like this record. Certainly not at all right for our top 20—there’s not much melody here, except for the infectious chant of track 6, “lawnlaying,” but there’s a coherent vision here and something that draws you in. And this coherence is strange because, well, because this album is so aptly named. “Solving my own puzzles” is a perfect description for what is essentially an album of music set to cryptic poetry—not the other way around. Yes, songwriter John Paul Scesniak could be legitimately accused of being a self-indulgent nihilist pseudo-intellectual writing lyrics that sound deep but which even he is not prepared to interpret—not even to himself. But there’s a sense here that there really is substance behind much of his poetry. It’s not entirely indecipherable, and some of the images really do haunt. Scesniak perhaps thinks he has no faith in words. In what is lyrically the best song, “using words to describe the ocean,” he says, in a wonderful line, “words are trivial…thoughts are just as petty…using words to describe the ocean you’re acting like a jetty.” True, John, but here you are using words to describe experience, to refer to a deep and interesting truth, and the image of a jetty does in fact help you accomplish this. Words are not like a jetty, by which I take you to mean a power drain on real meaning. No, words supply power, and at a deeper level you know this, because while you pretend to be a modern dada-ist with no faith in the power of words, you’ve devoted your entire creative enterprise to them. Your behavior belies your true faith. Perhaps Scesniak knows this. But it’s interesting to watch him battle himself over this issue in his lyrics. “We look down like clouds in the sky…we contemplate nothing, we have no designs,” he writes. Not true, obviously. Plus, that’s a nice metaphor. But Scesniak is afraid to do too much with it. In other words, he’s afraid to imbue his words with too much transparent meaning, but sometimes he’s quite poignant despite himself. Our guess: Scesniak is a young and very talented poet who will fairly soon solve the particular puzzle he’s working out about how much he wants his lyrics to say and to how many people other than himself alone. The guess here is he’ll remain somewhat cryptic but open up at least somewhat, and at that point Scesniak may become a wonderful and important indie rock poet. The poetry is front-and-center here, but what about the music? Well, it marries perfectly to the mood of the lyrics and their imagery, and that’s why this is a recommended album for people who are interested in experimental and avant-garde indie rock. A terrific dulcimerist and an equally competent cello player accompany the requisite sloppy acoustic guitar tracks, creating a sort of acoustic version of the experimental electronica that became too popular in the wake of Radiohead’s transformation of several years ago from pop band to experimentalists. And the result is a nice spin on the experimental aesthetic—and a spin which goes beyond random experimentalism by actually supporting the lyric in a meaningful way. But the real treat is the innovative drummer, who uses natural but wide, warm drum sounds to steer changing grooves around the lyrics in a thoughtful way that really moves and gives life to the images. In fact, probably the most important strong point of this record is that the musicians all sound like they’re listening to the poetry, trying to make their own sense of it. That’s the source of the unified vision and why the album doesn’t spin off into meaningless experimental masturbation—as Radiohead sometimes does. It’s definitely a niche album, for fans of avant-garde indie-rock and people who don’t mind lyrics that can be frustratingly indecipherable. But while there’s a glut of music in this genre, this artist is a cut above most, and the prediction here is that a little maturity will make John Scesniak a touch more accessible, a touch more concrete in his imagery, a touch more concerned with melodic theme, development and arc, a little less interested in disjoint stream-of-consciousness experiments. The talent, both musically and as a poet, is there. For these reasons, while this album doesn’t make a serious run at top-20 status, this is still an artist for many intelligent pop fans to introduce themselves to and watch in the future. You should know who you are.
New july review in red alert!!!
Soft guitar pluck strained psychedelic folk trippiness that moves up and down like some half-remembered trip from some summer in the past. Indie-folk rock that gets you in the mood for some picnic blanket reading and red wine drinking. Falls in nicely beside the mellowest moments of Modest Mouse, and throws in a cute kind of quirkiness that plays well beside some of Will Oldham’s work, but it’s a much warmer feeling – maybe not warmer, but lusher. Sometimes it feels a little like if Pinback was from some rustic barnyard in Ohio. The Modest Mouse comparison hits more than once, not only in the guitar play, but also in the vocals, which can move in that almost hushed rasp of some backwoods rap, and the movement of the voice as it goes up and down across long sentences that feels almost more like storytelling than song singing. Songs that reference lost books from childhood, like “When The Sidewalk Ends” and songs that fall into that Red Red Meat / Califone kind of country voice.
— Marcel Feldmar
hey a new review from chico state radio station kscs...
"There is a lot of good indie rock out there, yep, a lot. Its (un)natural evolution out of the cest-pool of the garage and folk rock of the 90s was inevitable. From coffee-shop open mics to large-scale music festivals like Coachella and whatnot, indie rock bands have become like a bacterium, spreading to all corners of the globe. That said it becomes obvious why it might difficult to find an indie band that stands shining above the rest. It may only produce only a tiny twinkle because of its lack of financial backing to get truly blinged-out, but it is a noticeable one nonetheless. The band I am referring to in this case is Seattle's Origami Ghosts (yeah, of course they're from Seattle, though Portland perhaps would have been a bit more appropriate...) They describe their music as "moody, and spacious anti-folk/pop/punk/hop" which definitely has a certain ring to it especially after hearing their latest album Solving My Own Puzzles. The album is pretty raw and basic in its production because O.G. (yes!) produced/released it on their own label, aptly named Hand To Mouth Media, now available on www.cdbaby.com (no Amazon, thank you very much.) Cellos, vibes, heartfelt lyrics, and sweetly sung vocals come together in songs that are happy to break your heart, stuff it with batting, and sew it back together like very few bands nowadays can..."
RIYL: Pinback, Modest Mouse, L'Altra
MP3: Origami Ghosts'
By: Sophia Dufort
Here's a sweet short review...from a talented writer on dagger -- a zine out of Portland:
ORIGAMI GHOSTS- SOLVING MY OWN PUZZLES…-HAND TO MOUTH- Trippy/folky stuff from Seattle-ite John Paul Scesniak (and what is it with people using their middle name these days ??!! Who do the think they are, serial killers ?) . On that alone I wanted to hate this but I can’t cos’ the songwriting is good and I like JP’s voice. You’re lucky JP, a bad review in DAGGER can sink your career ! (www.origamighosts.com )
REVIEW BY: Vish
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/06/2007
Hailing from Seattle, Origami Ghosts -- primarily a band of singer-songwriter/guitarist John Paul Scesniak -- doesn’t have the sound stereotypically associated with bands from this revered city of rock. It throws the flannel, the hair and, most importantly, the youth angst and thoughts of gloom and doom into a coffin and buries it deep into the ground. This is an untroubled act that makes honest folk music with a lot of heart and soul.
The music is fully acoustic, dreamy, laid-back and very ‘60s folk, with a warm-hearted tree-hugging hippie attitude. Scesniak writes down-to-earth and pretty tunes; his words are poetic, with plenty of references to the simple things like trees, clouds and everything else that a peace-loving, Whole Foods-frequenting, Yoga-practicing vegan would find as sources of inspiration.
Scesniak’s sleepy vocals are almost as tender and sensitive as his words. The harmony on “Clouds In The Sky” when he sings “We look down like clouds in the sky” as he elegantly describes his elevated mood with his lover has the kind of serenity that best expresses the feelings his words are trying to convey. On “First Time Talking To Myself,” Scesniak turns the anguish of loneliness and the feeling of being estranged, into calm melancholia and self questioning, as he asks himself, “Is this world something you’ve forgotten? Is this world something you’ve ignored?” with a healing tone rather than with a self-poking frustration.
Origami Ghosts’ brand of acoustic music is almost reminiscent of very early REM in that it is simple and minimal, but the tunes are elegantly crafted. The cello and the hammered dulcimer, which are as important as Scesniak’s voice or words, give the songs that balance of wistfulness and allure that makes his words and his singing even more fascinating.
The standouts are plenty and this album’s got a lot of pleasant surprises, but “Clouds Look Down,” “Pendulum” and “Using Words To Describe The Ocean” are near-perfect. Solving My Own Puzzles is a great debut record by an incredible band that every fan of folk music should know.
© 2007 Vish Iyer and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Hand To Mouth Media, and is used for informational purposes only.
Here's someone who had somethin' to say about origami ghosts...
Origami Ghosts aren’t a star vehicle. They’re a mediocre indie rock band at best, so spending much time running through the credits isn’t worth it. They have a cello player. People still like the cello, right? How about hammer dulcimer? Well forget about it. They may as well be stage props.
An album like “Solving My Own Puzzles” really makes you think… hasn’t Modest Mouse broke up yet? They should have.
With much of the music I have been reviewing these days, I am often left clamoring for adjectives to evoke the mood of the recordings. Not so in this case. Seems like any adjective I could throw at this music would still be too exciting.
But I can imagine. I can imagine you and me, two patient listeners, sitting around the house on a Sunday afternoon, waiting out the nine-songs on this not-quite-an–album. “They deserve a shot,” I will say, half-questioning as I read the press sheet and their kooky list of influences. You’d shrug. And when the album is over, I’ll shrug and say, “There it is.” You’d sip your water. Then I’d ask you if you’d like to take a walk. Life is still cool even if we’re not wondering where the sidewalk ends or if the clouds indeed peer down upon us or what scent abstract concepts such as peace emit. But I’d be hard-pressed to convince you to pay attention, let only pay money, just to be unengaged.
Try again OG’s, as if I could stop you. Unfortunately, with indie rock, there’s always a second chance. Maybe next time out you’ll listen to the cello player for a change. 3/10 -- Kenneth Zubiate (27 March, 2007)
A page that we did for Seattle Sound Magazine
for more info on Seattle Sound go to...
A review of our new album on palebear.com
(cd review)1.28.07 | Origami Ghosts - Solving My Own Puzzles
Solving My Own Puzzles
[Hand to Mouth]
Got in this rather nice CD from Origami Ghosts the other day that’s been making the rounds on my Itunes. Though the band is mostly the vehicle of John Paul Scesniak from Seattle, he doesn’t drive the car all by his lonesome preferring to create some rather nice soundscapes with the help of various musical friends.
The influences listed include Modest Mouse and Pinback, which might be a good starting point. I especially here that in the vocals. But there is less rockabout and a stronger, evocative Americana /Folk type of feel injected throughout many of the songs. Part of this probably has to do with the different instrumentation (hammered dulcimer and cello?).But it’s also inherent in the songs themselves which mostly run in the vein of moody acoustic folk dirges punctuated by occasional off-kiltre drum outbursts. The overall effect is fairly artsy, but not beyond the average listener’s reach.
A few of the artists brought to mind are Matt Pond PA (must be the cello), Built to Spill, Sam Prekop, American Music Club and Joan of Arc though Origami Ghosts don’t by any means sound exactly like any ONE of those bands. I liked at least 3/4 of this disc which is saying a lot in the new Palebear review format. Which is pretty darned picky…
Listen: on Myspace
Visit: Origami Ghosts websitehttp://www.palebear.com/
Here was a nice comment that a nice person said about our music...http://amusicalkiss.blogspot.com/2006/07/origami-ghosts-i-never-learned-how-to.html
Monday, July 31, 2006
I never learned how to fold decent paper planes. I remember how the talented people used to fold the paper to planes looking like fighter jets. I never managed to do that. My planes just crashed and burned a meter away from me. I guess my paper planes was more like the first aircrafts that was built. You know the silly looking ones that you can see in old movie clips, with people trying to fly but everyone just ends up face down in a bush...
Origami Ghosts must be masters at folding paper. If they are half as good as they are making music, they could probably make a living out of it. This six piece band from Seattle, USA is about everything you need this week. The use of other instruments than the ordinary pop/rock band would use is what makes the gold that is Origami Ghosts shine. Four wonderful songs are available at their myspace site. Their website is not really finished yet, but you can find it here.
Origami Ghosts - Peace
Origami Ghosts - Clouds Look Down
posted by Daniel at 10:08 AM
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