"...This first album recorded in 2003 is a complete success...The tempo is always relatively slow with the use of loops and repetitions in order to create textures and hypnotic climates. Always present are a certain tension, coldness, and a deep feeling of melancholy. The vocals are mostly spoken but always moving and mournful, with a certain warmth and fragility. He uses electric guitars and pedals, distortion, bass, percussions and synthesizers and elaborates complex atmospheres, but clever and meaningful compositions, at times close to silence and a few minutes later more noisy, building between intensity, austerity, urgency and intimacy.
"Torn or broken, shadowed or dark, cast off all doubts and ride the flames to freedom" belongs to this category of records that brings me somewhere else, at some other place, making me more lucid, vitalizing my soul, filling me with painful melancholic feelings, but at the same time soothing my fears. It really makes me feel more myself. There is this sense of purity and subtlety i can also find on some Tara Jane O'Neil records.
After such a long name, you can suspect that the songs have well defined names too but no, they are simply titled "first", "second", "third", "fourth" and "fifth". Each one of them is a challenge for the listener. First is radical and gripping. Second is contemplative and restrained, almost motionless with declaimed vocals. "Third" reminds me of For Carnation and then turns into something noisy, haunted and reverberated, somewhere between the first Victory at Sea album and Third Eye Foundation circa "Ghost". Fourth is instrumental and evolve slowly, stormy and noisy. Fifth is probably the more ambition song of the ep, between tension and release, noise and silence, darkness and intimacy.
The debut of Ghost to Falco is an impressive black diamond. Disturbing, unique and original. Essential."
--from the Belgian blog DERIVES.NET (review of "torn or broken...")
FROM THE DENVER ALT-WEEKLY PAPER THE WESTWORD:
"What's the sound of one hand clapping? Probably something really close to that of a guy jacking off. Likewise, one-man bands tend to embody the more masturbatory traits to which musicians are prone: self-absorption, self-indulgence, self-congratulation and lots of other annoying qualities prefixed by the word "self." Eric Crespo (below), though, keeps his ego in check and his hands out of his pants with his solo project, Ghost to Falco. Started in 2001 as an auxiliary to his day gig, Portland's art-punk outfit Alarmist [ed. note: Alarmist actually started more than a year after Ghost to Falco], Ghost to Falco is Crespo's repository for all the loops, drones, swells and whispers that rattle around inside a lonely brain. His 2003 debut, Torn or Broken, Shadowed or Dark, Cast Off All Doubts and Ride the Flames to Freedom, is a five-song plunge into the icy waters of non-being; echoing with empty space and soft voices, it pulls at the spirit like a death wish. Guitars and synthesizers are twisted around and fed back into each other until they spiral into vast, gaseous shapes, a sound as ethereal yet densely epic as that of Windsor for the Derby, VVRSSNN or even Meddle-era Pink Floyd. If you can wrap your head around a performance of almost Zen-like grace and mystery, cue Ghost to Falco."
--The Denver Westword
FROM THE PORTLAND, OR ALT-WEEKLY PAPER THE MERCURY:
"Straightforward without being sappy, emotional without being overblown, Ghost to Falco is a rare type of fellow. He uses brisk lines of electric guitar, samplers, keyboards, and a bath of mood lighting to decorate his plaintive songs of loss and sadness. The result is a strangely comforting (but not overly comfortable), warm performance, mired in balance and layered effects. In a very sweet and unexpected way, Ghost to Falco bridges the gap between solo emotionalism and accessible experiment." -Julianne Shepherd
FROM THE SAN FRANCISCO ALT-WEEKLY PAPER THE BAY GUARDIAN:
"Ghost to Falco…performs mournful songs that are unsettlingly beautiful, like a peaceful morning before a funeral. Crespo sings gently and deliberately over looped synth and guitar strums-lulling listeners to sleep with ominous raindrops on the brink of turning into a raging thunderstorm..."
--San Francisco Bay Guardian
FROM PUNK PLANET:
"Ghost to Falco...creates eccentric and eerily beautiful songs that bind themselves in warm, dredging melancholy and rise into explosions of ambient noisy chaos, before eventually feather-falling back into calamity. This is an impressive album, thick with conviction, tragic and soothing."
--Punk Planet (from review of "torn or broken...")