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Following on from last years' 'Autres Directions' under his own name, and a collaboration with Jim Jupp of Belbury Poly with the celeb matchup of the year in 'The Belbury Circle', Jon Brooks has returned to his Advisory Circle moniker for 'Ways Of Seeing'. 

After a brief introduction (like we wouldn't know exactly who were listening to within ten seconds of kick-off), we get slowly arpeggiated saw waves and delayed blipping sinewaves dreamily meandering over the insistent percussive backdrop. Massive snare drums and swelling FM sweeps bulk out the forward-moving Italo throb. 

'The April Interval' and it's later counterpart, the stunning 'Skyways' are beautifully redolent of the 80's library music Brooks (and the rest of us) clearly have a soft-spot for, they are stunning, saturated, key led melodic journeys, brimming with spine-tingling whimsy, perfectly measured production and that impeccable ear for progressions we've come to expect. 

'Flight Capture' is possibly the greatest example of synth-led melody and textural intensity i've heard for a long time, combining the glimmering arpeggiated FM stabs and woozy bass throbs perfectly before slowly building into a shimmering Balearic tine-heavy refrain. 

We get spoken-word musings in 'A Mechanical Eye', (though I have less in common with this man than the monologist from the last album, he also being a solid tea enthusiast), before the kosmische shifting arps and swirling pads of 'Airborne Seeds'. 

A mindblowing tour-de-force once again from The Advisory Circle, and one that will be on my record player for some time to come. Stunningly immersive, beautifully produced and stunningly packaged. Album of the year material, for sure. 





STAFF COMMENTS

Barry says: It's always the most exciting thing to hear that one of my favourite artists is releasing a new LP, and this was easily one of the most consistent and enjoyable releases yet, an absolute triumph.

Beautify Junkyards

The Invisible World Of Beautify Junkyards

THE INVISIBLE WORLD OF BEAUTIFY JUNKYARDS is Lisbon band Beautify Junkyards’s third album and effortlessly blend their love of English Acid Folk and Brazilian Tropicalia. In a collection of songs that conjure up a warm and verdant faerie world, delicate acoustic guitars evoke an autumnal England suffused with Iberian heat by other- worldly voices; the ethereal lilt of João Branco Kyron and the warm languor of Rita Vian (a voice redolent of Gal Costa or Os Mutantes’ Rita Lee.)

The production is tempered with a haunted electronic palette that anchors the band squarely in the world of Ghost Box. But more than this, Beautify Junkyards’ sheer song writing talent, production skill and performance virtuosity grant them a place amongst the great outside-of-time bands like Broadcast or The High Llamas.

In 2012, the band’s eponymous first album set out their stall, with a collection of cover versions; mainly of classics of the British Acid-Folk period, but also taking in Tropicalia and German Kosmiche. The album was a hit in Portugal and picked up for airplay in the UK on BBC Radio 2 & 6 Music. Their version of Kraftwerk’s Radioactivity was included on DJ Food’s Krafwerk Kover Kollection.

Their second album in 2015, The Beast Shouted Love, carried their influences forward with original songs and cemented a style that is at once traditional, experimental and exotic. In 2016 the band debuted on Ghost Box with a single as part of the label's Other Voices Series.


FORMAT INFORMATION

LP includes MP3 Download Code.

The first full length LP for this collaborative project between Jon Brooks (The Advisory Circle) and Jim Jupp (Belbury Poly). John Foxx features on vocals and synth on two tracks, Trees and Forgotten Towns, reprising his appearance on The Belbury Circle’s debut EP, Empty Avenues in 2013.

Brooks and Jupp go back to their musical roots with this release, but there’s no weird children’s TV or haunted soundtracks here. It’s a joyfully re-imagined soundworld that draws heavily on late 70s and early 80s synth pop and library music. An exciting transitional era that first saw the pair taking up synths as kids. With interlocking analogue sequencers, driving rhythms, soaring lead lines, primitive sampling, and its themes of travel and return, the album evokes the eve of the digital era, when “Tomorrow’s World” was still an exciting possibility.

STAFF COMMENTS

Barry says: An incredible meeting of musical 'Dream Team' minds here. With all-round lovely chap and prodigal production wiz Jon Brooks teaming up with Ghost-Box co-owner and Belbury Poly mastermind Jim Jupp. It's as good as it sounds, with both artists being bolstered by the other and creating a retro-futuristic synth monolith. This is my rest-of-year listening sorted!

Pye Corner Audio

Sleep Games

    Ghost Box's ongoing collective hallucination reaches the haunted dancehall. The sleevenotes to Martin Jenkins' latest research document playfully refer to a state of 'deja entendu', but though much is composed of vintage electronic ingredients, its generic coordinates remain as unfixed as the 'non places' he aims to evoke in the melancholic, occasionally sinister silicon suite. "Into The Maze" and "The Mirror Ball Cracked" are techno composed of dust and drizzle, while "Nostalgia Pills" and "Chlorine" are woozy synth reveries. Like the kind of memory-sprites often evoked by Ghost Box releases, this is music that continually slips away from you even as you chase down its essence.
    MOJO

    After releasing three volumes of the intriguing Black Mill Tapes throughout 2010 and 2011 on his own Pye Corner Audio Transcription Services, Martin Jenkins takes the natural step and releases his studio album Sleep Games on Jim Jupp's wonderful Ghost Box label. The darker reaches of the haunted ballroom, the creeping shadows and the ghostly ambience of abandoned warehouses and buildings, and the faded charm of cult '70s children TV shows comprise the similar sound aesthetic that Jenkins and Jupp both encompass. Sleep Games begins with a nod to Jenkins' previous work with the marauding "The Black Mill Video Tape." It instantly recalls the imperious electronics of the finest John Carpenter and Alan Howarth soundtracks. The album then gusts over you like a Cold War wind, with dark thudding beats and kosmische chimes and breezes echoing all around. Jenkins' love and obvious influence of Krautrock become apparent on the motorik-sounding "Palais Spectres" and continue to flicker throughout the rest of the record. There is a haunting, almost chilling, undercurrent to the material; the VHS rhythms of "A Door in the Dry Ice" is a foggy slice of '80s B-movie electronics. The almost ambient-sounding "Nostalgia Pills" conjures up -- as its title intends -- faded memories before the two closing tracks ("Chlorine" and "Nature Reclaims the Town") calmly yet eerily end the album like a forgotten sci-fi novel. Our Head Technician has delivered an accomplished album for Ghost Box that only serves to enhance the well-deserved reputation of both parties. 

    Im Hag is the debut Ghost Box album for Berlin based Sebastian Counts’ ToiToiToi, following on from his single for the label’s Other Voices series in 2015. It’s very detailed and lovingly produced music, crafted from electronic, synth, sampled and acoustic sources. Its a wunderkammer of an album crammed with original ideas. All at once managing to be witty, spooky, melodic and abstract.

    The music and design explores the polarities of folklore vs modernity, and wilderness vs civilization. It’s an album about German culture but it pre-empts a nostalgia for the vanishing concept of internationalism, once exemplified by town twinning. It’s also a warm-hearted record, hopefully a tiny morale booster against Europe’s resurgent spectres. As always the beautiful CD and LP packaging is designed by Julian House.

    The Pattern Forms is a collaborative project between Ed Macfarlane and Edd Gibson of Friendly Fires and Jon Brooks of The Advisory Circle.

    Peel Away the Ivy is the culmination of a fruitful collaboration that followed on from a debut single for Ghost Box’s Other Voices series in 2015.

    On the surface this is a romantic pop album, but its roots lie in both bands’ shared love of soundtracks and electronic library music of the 70s and 80s.

    The artists bring their own distinct sensibilities to the project but find a common ground that conjures up something entirely new to both. A balance of powerful pop hooks and sonic experimentation that masterfully evoke the melancholy of lost summers and lonely outsider reveries.

    Heartrending ballads are lifted away on soaring electronics with beautiful pastoral and kosmiche instrumentals forming perfect atmospheric interludes.

    Brooks and Macfarlane both have proven track records as outstanding producers and the sound here is, unsurprisingly, breath-taking.


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: A perfect mix of Jon Brooks' impeccably realised library/synth sound and the ethereal echoing vocals of the Ed(d)'s. Triumphant arpeggios and silky saw basses are injected with beautiful pad sweeps and delightfully neon synth solos. Melodic and thoughtful, resplendent with shine and exhibiting a how-to in perfect songwriting, this is a dreamy and breathtaking synth-pop masterpiece.

    Conceived as a kind of sequel to 2012’s Sleep Games, there’s an epic sensibility to Stasis. The haunted concrete caverns of the earlier album give way here, to vast, awe inspiring spaces. The album has a strong narrative flow that can be read either as the soundtrack for an interplanetary voyage under suspended animation, or the exploration of vast inner realms under some other form of technologically enhanced sleep.

    Martin Jenkins' unique production sound is unmistakable: Carpenter-esque slow kosmiche disco and ambience, woozy synth melodies and somnambulistic grooves with soft, rich textures.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: A dystopian, pulsing suite of crackled after-dark melodies and industrious percussives. Bit-crushed arpeggios and tinny off-kilter crescendos form into an exponential multiplication of their understated solo roles. Tracks like ‘Autonomization’ perfectly display the mastery of building from scratch, piece by piece until a wall of formidable heft is built, layering cyclic synth patterns over a dusty kick drum, before being bolstered by a clicking clave and resonant something-0-something sweeping bass loop. This sort of direction has been hinted at in previous work (“Vorticism” on the Superstitious Century 12” was both its highlight and most prophetic composition) but here it is perfectly balanced, righteously confident and impeccably realised. ”Approach” is in another ‘Classic’ PCA moment, but to his credit, completely different. Warbling synth trills are at once disarming and defining, adding a sense of urgency to the cosmic pads bubbling and swaying below.
    Move a little further on from the first half (I’m certain you will, as I have done at least a hundred times) and there seems to be less drama about proceedings, “A Chance” is a soaring and transfixing synthetic bubblebath, cleansing and relaxing the muscles before the hypnotic throbbing bass of “Electric Eye”. That’s what this is all about, tension and resolution, fight and flight. One seems pointless without the other; the light seems that much lighter when the dark is around the corner. Impeccably realised and eminently satisfying, this is the dance music for a slowed-down shadowy future.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Ltd LP Info: The lavish CD and LP packaging is designed by Julian House. The 180gm LP includes a free download card.

    CD Info: The lavish CD and LP packaging is designed by Julian House.

    The Apple Tree is the first LP from Hintermass following their Study Series single for Ghost Box in 2011. The duo comprises Jon Brooks (The Advisory Circle) and Tim Felton (formerly of Broadcast and Seeland).

    Both are multi instrumentalists, lending the album its rich texture of electronics, guitar, keyboards, percussion and exotic acoustic instrumentation. The sound is completed by Felton’s rich, warm vocals and Brook’s immaculate production.

    The Apple Tree is primarily a pop album; mannered and serene with strong electronic and folk sensibilities. This is balanced by expertly handled abstract sketches and instrumental pieces.

    Both artists cite the kosmiche music of Ash-ra and Popul Vuh and their simultaneous re- discovery of the music of Nico as strong influences on the album. The songs also have clear roots in both traditional and psychedelic folk.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: This was definitely an album that I appreciated when I first heard it.. but definitely not in the same way. I approached this from the angle of being a big Jon Brooks fan, I had (for shame) heard very little of Tim Felton.. Bits of Broadcast here and there.. I had heard of Seeland.. but nothing concrete. 'The Apple Tree' is more folk than Brooks' trademark library-tinted analogue sound, more twee. Modern but timeless, it has melody (gasp) and 'Choons'.. this scared me.. I wasn't used to 'Choons'. The more I listen the more exciting it is. As ever, stunningly produced but in the context of this album it is breathtaking. This is a rich and dynamic melodic wonder, and a triumph from both sides of the stylistic divide. Impeccable.

    Cavern Of Anti-Matter

    Other Voices 06

      Ghost Box are very excited to present these two tracks recorded especially for the Other Voices series by Tim Gane's low key, elusive and damned near perfect Berlin based band, Cavern of Anti- Matter.

      "Pulsing River Velvet Phase" is a beautifully evolving melodic piece for guitar and synths. Reminiscent of Gane’s Stereolab work, it’s a five minute epic that blossoms organically as it joyfully shifts mood and time signatures.

      On "Phototones" Cavern of Anti-Matter are in more typical motorik territory. A delightfully upbeat head-nodder.

      Various Artists

      In A Moment... Ghost Box

        To mark the label’s tenth anniversary Ghost Box have compiled a double album of highlights from their back catalogue.

        Thirty one specially remastered tracks from The Advisory Circle, Belbury Poly, The Focus Group, Pye Corner Audio, John Foxx and The Belbury Circle, Roj, Mount Vernon Arts Lab and a track from the forthcoming album by Hintermass. The album includes extensive sleeve notes by music writer Simon Reynolds, who has championed the Ghost Box cause from the very beginning.

        Both physical formats are lavish packages designed by Julian House, and celebrate the fact that graphic design has always played a central part of the label’s ethos.


        FORMAT INFORMATION

        2xCD Info: Double digipack CD with booklet insert.


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