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GHOST BOX

Large Plants

La Isla Bonita

    This unlikely cover version of Madonna’s perennial pop favourite first came to the attention of Ghost Box records when Large Plants front man, Jack Sharp posted it on his social media channels as an April Fool’s gag. Plenty of followers were taken in by this perfectly crafted gem that sounds uncannily like it must have always existed and predated the original.

    Plenty of followers were taken in by this perfectly crafted gem that sounds uncannily like it must have always existed and predated the original.

    It’s a super heavy, scuzzed up, psych sound, at the same time shot through with Mediterranean sunlight. It’s by no means a parody though; rather a respectful interpretation of a perfectly formed pop masterpiece and is officially sanctioned by the publishers, for release on this highly desirable chunk of heavyweight vinyl by Ghost box Records.

    Large Plants started as a solo project for Jack Sharp singer and guitarist of psych-folk luminaries Wolf People, while that band are on hiatus. It was spurred on by a song writing and recording frenzy during the lockdown of 2020 when Sharp played and recorded all instruments for the songs on the single and forthcoming album. In summer of 2021 the tracks were mixed by songwriter Chris Cohen (formerly of Deerhoof & Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti). The resulting sound is a kind of scuzzy, heavy, psych rock, sweetened by a rich vein of bucolic sorrow that Sharp’s vocal never fails to convey.

    TRACK LISTING

    A. La Isla Bonita
    B. Please Don’t Be There For Me

    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.

        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. 





        TRACK LISTING

        1. Ektachrom Logotone 
        2. Be Seeing You! 
        3. The April Interval
        4. Flight Capture
        5. Time Shapes The Lens 
        6. Skyways 
        7. A Mechanical Eye 
        8. Airborne Seeds 
        9. High Climber 
        10. Scuba
        11. The Soft | Dissolve 
        12. Tidewatch 
        13. No Way Back
        14. New Wave, New Energy

        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

        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.


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