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GHOST BOX

The Advisory Circle

Full Circle

    Full Circle is the sixth album by long time Ghost Box roster member, The Advisory Circle. Self-avowed synaesthesiac, Cate Brooks conjures a very visual fantasy in four acts (the vinyl version across four sides of a luxurious gatefold double 10”). Her tracks evoke human dramas played out against the timeless backdrop of a utopian built environment, where leisure, luxury, elegance and romance are always in fashion.

    Brooks' music is by turns ambient, dramatic, upbeat and melancholic. It's instrumental electronica of the very highest calibre, an expert and masterly manipulation of electronic equipment both old and new. Light touches of acoustic and electric instrumentation and flourishes of both tape and digital sound manipulation add colour throughout.

    This long running solo project is saturated in 70s and 80s TV and library music influences, and in some ways Full Circle is a call back to the 2005 debut EP Mind How You Go. However, the music and production have evolved over the yers, into a distinctively rich and three dimensional soundworld. The album wears its influences and sonic components proudly, but feels contemporary, cool, and fresh. Brooks' music career predates and now transcends the world of hauntological electronica that it inspired.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Full Circle
    2. Wait Hear Now
    3. Time Immemorial
    4. Autres Voix
    5. Russian Doll
    6. Blueprint
    7. Recovery Process
    8. Just A Dream
    9. Fit For Purpose
    10. Away Days
    11. Inner Activity
    12. Situation One
    13. The Architecture
    14. Sky Court
    15. The Luxury Spectrum
    16. Full Circle Logotone

    Large Plants

    The Carrier

      Large Plants started as a solo project for Jack Sharp, the singer and guitarist for Wolf People. It was spurred on by a writing frenzy during the lockdown of 2020 when Sharp played and recorded all the parts for what would become the debut single, La Isla Bonita and the first album The Carrier. In summer of 2021 the tracks were mixed by songwriter Chris Cohen (formerly of Deerhoof & Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti).

      Large Plants’ songs are immediate, heavy psychedelic rock belters filtered through a haze of analogue tape flutter. Sharp’s voice has an eerily distant and delicate tone that lends a strong folk sensibility to the album; like the scent of winter mornings and fresh soil mixed with the whiff of petrol. Though the songs are generally three-minute gems, they are lyrically more like ancient ballads; peopled with tragic youths, witches, lovelorn troubadours and femmes fatales. Sharp is now touring Large Plants as a four piece along with Ed Taylor on drums, Ollie Taylor on bass and Joe Wooley on guitar with dates booked so far at OSLO, Hackney -17th April and The Betsy Trotwood, Clerkenwell 5th May

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: Swooning, progressive psychedelia from Jack Sharp bringing to mind the loose garage wooze of BJM or heady echoic psych a-la Jefferson Airplane all tinged with Ghost Box's distinctive and almost ever-present tape-distressed aesthetic. A beautiful addition to the label and a wonderful full-length for the Large Plants. A superb addition to any collection.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. The Carrier
      2. No Difference
      3. Don't Let Me Let You Down
      4. Never Seen
      5. How Far
      6. Wreckers
      7. Hold Onto
      8. I Lie Awake
      9. Marceline
      10. The Witch

      Pneumatic Tubes

      A Letter From Treetops

        A Letter from TreeTops is the debut album from Pneumatic Tubes, the solo project of multi-instrumentalist Jesse Chandler. Grounded here in his own bucolic makings, Chandler opens his imagination to the world with this very personal and contemplative album. It’s a kind of American Kosmiche Music, a paean to the wild landscapes of the Adirondacks and Catskills of Upstate New York where he grew up. (TreeTops is the name of a summer camp, fondly remembered by several generations of the Chandler family.)

        The album came to Chandler almost as an automatic transmission. Shortly after the death of his father, he holed up alone in the old family home with a few synths, a couple of vintage keyboards, percussion instruments and of course his beloved flutes and clarinets - the “pneumatic tubes” of his nom de plume. Channelling raw memory and landscape, Chandler laid down most of the material for this mystical and elegiac suite of music in just a few days. He later called on some talented friends to flesh out the final recordings; Paul Alexander on bass, Bill Campbell on drums, Marissa Nadler backing vocals and Robert Gomez on electric guitar.

        The result is a series of beautifully faded musical photographs. Gentle melodies are propelled along by synth arpeggiators or laidback sidestick and felt beater drums. Chandler’s wind instruments are woven throughout like wild vines binding the elements together. Towards the end of the album an underlying note of melancholy swells into grief during the very moving Witch Water, which is subtly underpinned with Marissa Nadler’s haunting voice. The clouds soon clear, the mountains reappear, and the wheel of the year and of the generations turns again as A Letter from TreeTops signs off with the same lilting melody on which it began.

        Originally hailing from Woodstock, New York and now living in Denton, Texas, Jesse Chandler is the keyboard and woodwinds player for the bands Midlake and Mercury Rev. His particular warmth as a composer and improviser is informed by a childhood ensconced in the mystical Catskill mountains, where he absorbed the area’s rich musical history and developed a fascination with keyboard and woodwind instruments.

        A Letter from TreeTops is not his first appearance on Ghost Box, he also contributed organ and flute on the Soundcarriers’ incredible Entropicalia album.

        Evocative liner notes are provided by Justin Hopper, author of Old Weird Albion and writer of the Ghost Box spoken word album Chanctonbury Rings. By happy coincidence Hopper also grew up in New York State and has his own deep connection to the landscapes there.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Barry says: The wonderful Jesse Chandler of other-bands fame (Midlake, Mercury Rev) brings his debut solo LP to Ghost Box, and it's a beautifully warm distillation of light, folky instrumentation and swimming orchestral atmospheres. Cosmic, soaring wooze. Thoroughly stunning.

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Summer's Children
        2. Joyous Lake
        3. TreeTops
        4. The Big Deep
        5. Mumbly-Peg
        6. Slow Fawns
        7. Camp Sunfrost
        8. Overlook Mountain House
        9. Saw Teeth
        10. Witch Water
        11. Magic Meadow
        12. Summer's End

        Pye Corner Audio

        Entangled Routes

          Entangled Routes is the fourth Pye Corner Audio album for Ghost Box Records. It’s the third part of a loose trilogy of albums starting with Stasis in 2016 and followed by Hollow Earth in 2019. Each album is a kind of high concept sci-fi epic, the latest instalment of which plays with the idea of mycorrhizal networks and attempts by humans to listen in and communicate.

          As always with Pye Corner Audio and Ghost Box Records generally, narrative is not spelled out. It's only implied in the drama and mood of the music, with the help of careful attention to track titles and sequence and of course Julian House's consistently evocative artwork.

          Martin Jenkins builds up tension with his minimalistic synth sequences and dance floor abstractions. His masterful sound design creates a sense of awe and vast space as he takes us on a fantastic and exciting voyage from peril to redemption.

          Pye Corner Audio specialise in majestic, cinematic electronica that evokes sci-fi soundtracks, dystopian futures and the sound of haunted dance floors. The discography to date includes ten full length albums and many more singles and EPs across several labels. There are also remixes for John Foxx, Mogwai, Ride’s Andy Bell, Mark Lanegan, Alice Hubble, Stealing Sheep, Knightstown and Dolphin Midwives.

          TRACK LISTING

          New Roots
          Synaptic
          Paleolith
          Earthwork
          The Creeper
          Hive Mind
          The Clearing
          Growth Potential
          The Long Now
          Phantom Orchid
          Leaf Mould
          Buried Network
          Symbiosis

          Beautify Junkyards With Belbury Poly

          Painting Box

            The A side is a cover of The Incredible String Band’s Painting Box, originally written by Mike Heron. It’s a collaboration between Beautify Junkyards and Belbury Poly and produced by Jim Jupp. The flipside is an original by Beautify Junkyards, Ritual in Transfigured Time, produced by João Branco Kyron.

            Both have a delightfully disorientating sound. The artists complement each other perfectly with their through-the looking-glass electronic psychedelia.

            Beautify Junkyards:
            A talented group of Lisbon based multi-instrumentalists headed up by João Branco Kyron on vocals and keyboards with Helena Espvall (formerly of Espers) on cello, flute and electric guitar, Martinez on vocals, João Moreira acoustic guitar and keyboards, Sergue Ra on bass and Antonio Watts on drums and percussion.

            Belbury Poly:
            Jim Jupp is co-manager of UK label Ghost Box Records. As Belbury poly he’s released EPs, singles and six albums on the label. He is also a member of The Belbury Circle along with Jon Brooks (of The Advisory Circle) and occasional collaborator, John Foxx. He’s remixed tracks for several artists including John Foxx and Bill Ryder-Jones (The Coral) and has co-written a song with Paul Weller for his 2020 album On Sunset.

            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!

            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.

            TRACK LISTING

            1 - Alte Weise
            2  - A Travel Agent's Dream
            3  - Outside In
            4 - Der Duft Der Wälder
            5 - Mond In Den Ästen
            6 - Cumulus Culture Centre
            7 - Gummi-Marsch
            8 - Leaving Backwards
            9 - Im Schatten Großer Bäume
            10 - Kilon
            11 - Tanz Um Den Kopf
            12 - Talkoller
            13 - The So-So Kids
            14 - Terminal To Nothingness
            15 - Lichtfest
            16 - Bei Der Hagschen
            17 - Perpetuum Mobile

            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.

            TRACK LISTING

            1. Peel Away The Ivy
            2. Black Rain
            3. Don't Let Me Dream
            4. A Simple Walk
            5. Daylight
            6. Sparrowhawk
            7. Man And Machine
            8. Fluchtwege
            9. Polymer Dawn
            10. First In An Innocent World


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