By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Sometime during the dizzying barrage of roars, moans and pterodactyl groans spraying from the Wreck Room stage, I remembered what Ghostcar guitarist Daniel Huffman told me before the show about trumpet player Karl Poetschke. "Karl is kind of elusive. Karl lives on a boat, or sometimes out in the desert."
Poetschke, a North Texas space-jazz veteran of Sivad, Mazinga Phazer and Stumptone, certainly plays like he's on a boat or (mostly) out in the desert. He runs his miked trumpet through an array of effects, conjuring chilling voices from a desert canyon at the dead of midnight. Poetschke is the secret weapon of Ghostcar, an all-improved ensemble so potent they don't even need one.
On this Saturday night in Fort Worth, Ghostcar was a clinic, and drummer Claydo Stinnett was the chief practitioner. His ridiculously deft touch with cymbals and snare formed the backbone for a well-oiled wall of sound. Huffman, late of the classic Comet lineup, alternated between cosmic funk and flights of sonic fancy. Up to seven players jumped on and off the stage, underscoring the anything-goes nature of this free-flowing exhibition.
Pockets of contemplative or trippy lull gave way to sudden energy bursts, as Stinnett's upbeat lock-groove rose up on the wings of a blissful drone. Think Neu! if you're familiar with '70s avant-rock--and think Stereolab if you're not. Then Poetschke chimes in with his Tweety Bird-on-phenobarb shrill and blows the whole thing to smithereens. Pick your poison: rapid-fire snares like the clicks of a New Year's noisemaker, a cartoonish giddy-up beat behind Emergency Broadcast feedback, a vomiting frog in rhythm...Then the dust settles into a shakin' Afrobeat groove, cheers erupting from the entranced gawkers lurching in the Wreck Room's rear area.
If this is par for Ghostcar, then put me down for shotgun on this trip through the foggy, dissipating night.