Ghostland Observatory: ElectRock from the Netherworld

by Patrick Wakefield

You feel it when you’re all alone. In a big empty house. That slight tickle at your nape. A tiny prickle, lifting your hairs on end. A small electric current, it runs up your spine to your fingers and toes. It’s that uncertain certainty, that though you know there’s nobody else around, there’s something there. Something creeping in from another world. Invisible to the senses, yet undeniably present. Ghostland Observatory (GLO) harnesses that otherworldly tingle into an electro-rock miasma, which cloys to your ears and haunts your mind.
GLO, is a Texas based duo consisting of Thomas Turner and Aaron Behrens. “Thomas is from the desert and I’m from the hill country,” Behrens stated. He, guitar and vocals, according to the bands official biography, brings a love of rock, psychadelica, and blues. While Turner, producer, keyboardist, and drummer, is more for thumping electric beats. This meeting of, seemingly, disparate musical interests is synthesized into GLO’s trademark sound. Coming together under the banner of GLO in 2003, the pair has been going strong ever since.
Behrens has had the itch to be on stage since his early youth, “I’ve been performing since I was 9 years old.” However, his first experience on stage, about which he admits he “bombed hard,” instilled in him a sense of determination, “I told myself that I would never again set foot on that stage and not give it my all.” A feeling that has helped sustain him and GLO observatory. Pushing the group to playing such noteworthy music festivals as Lollapalooza, Coachella, and Austin City Limits, which they headlined.
Such accolades are the result of both their renowned live performances, and the pulsing lilt of their spectral electro-rock rhythms. The beats of which effuse with the flowing shimmer of Turners keyboard and the studding snare of his drums. Behrens lends each track his sharp vocals and adroit guitar work. The resulting sound is a synthetic-funk that at times feels like the ominous background music to an 80′s slasher flick or the latest Daft Punk tune. A truly genre defying musical style that is both jarring yet eminently pleasing and undeniably harmonious.
GLO’s obvious glut of creative musical talent is exemplified in their latest album, Codename: Rondo. Featuring notable tracks such as “Miracles,” Codename: Rondo is a catchy symphony of the kind that digs into your muscles and makes you want to move. Codename: Rondo is the most recent of several musical collections from GLO. These include Delete.Delete.I.Eat.Meat, Paparazzi Lightening, and Robotique Majestic. All of which were produced by Turner’s own label, Trashy Moped Recordings.
Despite their burgeoning success, GLO is committed to their music as a purely creative vehicle for whatever they can come up with. Seeing their music as a, “stamp in time where our minds where at that period in our career,” GLO, according to Behrens, didn’t get into it for the money or to convey any kind of special message. Instead, he simply desires to let the spirit of his creative genius guide him to whatever virgin shores of sonic creation it should lead him to.
All of GLO’s music is available for free online, through providers such as Spotify or Rhapsody, and on their website. GLO’s popping beats and whirring rhythms could only be inspired, as Behrens stated, “from some other world.” Reminding us, “In the world you see, remember there is another swirling around, and speaking through your dreams.”
Coming up!
Catch Ghostland Observatory May 13 at the Viking Union MPR. For more information, visit or follow them on Facebook.