Black Light Smoke – “Ghosts” [Scissor and Thread]

Black Light Smoke - "Ghosts" [Scissor and Thread]

New Black Light Smoke album “Ghosts” on Scissor and Thread

Black Light Smoke returns to revered New York label Scissor and Thread with Ghosts, a sophomore LP that sees the Chicago native revisiting his youth through exploring the origins of house music, while touching on themes of closure, creativity and identity. This LP is something of an anticipated homecoming as he debuted on the label over a decade ago with his gritty, analog sound, and he’d become a regular fixture throughout Scissor and Thread’s earlier years before pursuing other projects.

Rochester-based Black Light Smoke is the moniker of Jordan Lieb. Moving to New York in 2001 for close to two decades, as a multi-disciplined musician his career has taken flight in many forms. Writing music for TV and film for over 20 years, recognition for his work came early with Emmy nominations and an Emmy win. Recent projects include Ana Lily Amirpour’s movie The Bad Batch, starring Keanu Reeves, Suki Waterhouse and Jason Mamoa, and biographical sports mockumentary I, Tonya with Margot Robbie. Aside from working full-time in TV and film, his passion projects under Black Light Smoke include releases via Brooklyn labels Scissor and Thread and Cut Mistake Music, as well as from his own imprint Death Decay Magic which since its 2020 launch has found fans in Bloody Mary, The Hacker, DJ Hell, Green Velvet and Posthuman for its explorations through dark wave, post punk and dark techno.

Spanning ‘90s house, soulful beats and dusty grooves, Ghosts speaks to Jordan’s clashes with the intrusive shadows and demons of his past. Written across a two-year stretch, it was a fraught period which heavily impacted his creative life.

“Producing this LP took so much more time than I’m used to,” he explains. “I’m invited back to Scissor and Thread but I didn’t know how I’d fit back into the label after years away. I’d then ask myself what am I doing producing house music – I’m now family-focussed and not out clubbing any more, so what am I drawing on. I didn’t realise that there’d be two years of soul searching, and that I’d come up against a bit of an identity crisis in trying to find my artistic voice again. I realised that I didn’t have to reinvent, but simply had to make something that came from my heart. I needed to push through a lot for the new ideas to come.”

Once Jordan honed in on his reverence for the origins of house music, from the founders to the creators behind its “second wave”, he felt a shift forward in motivation and productivity. Born and raised in Chicago, he was an impressionable teen during the mid ‘90s, with illegal warehouse raves being his access point. That era left its mark and influenced his need to later immerse himself in club culture which he’d do in New York.

“I found myself in that world. I found my purpose and identity in New York’s scene and did it all with brilliant people. House music was the soundtrack to this trans-formative decade in my life. It was everything through my twenties and thirties. There were the iconic clubs like Cielo and Output, but also the golden era of after parties, connecting and crate digging with mates – there’s nothing as beautiful as that. This LP kinda closes that chapter of my life while creating music that I feel stays true to my roots.”

LP opener ‘Sprinkles Says’, which features a DJ Sprinkles interview, introduces Jordan’s deftness in saturating his music with vintage sounds. Across the 15-track LP, he utilises Roland’s TR 727 percussion machine – a staple in early house music – to get that authentic sound. This is a collection that sits together as a listening experience. It perfectly builds peaks and slides into serene troughs – especially on tracks ‘Hearts Not Broken’ and ‘Ghosts’ which feature his regular vocal counterpart Léah Lazonick. Tracks bend and warp in unexpected directions, while dusty distortion counterpoints classic rave stabs. Taken as a whole, the album could be the soundtrack to a night drive through the city, as much as certain tracks will no doubt find themselves woven into the sets of the more leftfield and genre pushing DJs.

All of his personal proceeds from the LP will go to The Little Bit Foundation, a non-profit committed to improving access to education for students living in poverty across St. Louis, Missouri.

“We start with our children when working towards generational progress. I’m now a father to young children so this hits home. I went with The Little Bit Foundation because of their broad and holistic approach which focuses on health and nutrition, academic equity, family support, and college readiness.”

Out June, 2nd, 2023
double-12“ gatefold vinyl album + digital formats
Get it here:

Track list:

01/A1. Sprinkles Says
02/A2. 727 Anthem (House Is Black)
03/A3. Hearts Not Broken feat. Léah Lazonick
04/B1. Pleasure Chaser
05/B2. The Beat Direct
06/B3. Love Triangle
07/C1. Ghosts feat. Léah Lazonick
08/C2. Out From Within
09/C3. Prisoner
10/D1. At Home In Strange Places
11/D2. Resonate
12/D3. In The Valley
13. Ghosts feat. Leah Lazonick (Dark Disco Mix)
14. Nighttime Honey
15. The Storm (Bandcamp exclusive)

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