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GHOST BOX

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: One of our albums od the year 2017, and one of my favourite albums OF ALL TIME is once again in stock ahead of the stunning new PCA LP, 'Hollow Earth'.

An absoultely stunning, electronic odyssey. Still just as incredible as the day I heard it.

FORMAT INFORMATION

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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