(Artwork care of Karen Ramsay (www.karenramsay.com), profile photo care of brianlackeyphotography.com)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

CD review - Warm Ghost, Claws Overhead (2010)

Take a dreamy, low fi trip to the undersea world of Warm Ghost. The Brooklyn based duo is perfectly named -- the music on the Claws Overhead EP is dreamy, detached, and hard to focus on. It's dream pop with a synth pop spine.

Other electronic bands might create layers of sound, allowing complexity to arise from the interactions. In contrast, Warm Ghost defocuses a world of sonic elements into a fuzzy smear of sound. It's slow motion, underwater music that slips past the rational mind to touch the emotional. Their path is unique: more song focused than Brian Eno, less frantic than Pere Ubu, and not making a statement like U2. Still, the ambient quality, experimentalism, and lush sound evoke each of those acts.

The title cut sets the mood with a skewed take on synth pop. Heavily detuned notes and a looming bass synth work with the stead beat to build tension. The sound is thick and echoed. The vocal is detached. The music feels like the moments just before sleep comes: everything is distant, the edges are going dark, and a vague sense of paralysis.

Resignation Rights starts out like a cross between Julee Cruise (Floating from Twin Peaks) and Tears for Fears. The heavily processed vocals contribute to the thick smear of sound. So much is going on, but it's all jumbled together in a dreamy mix, like a grab bag of subconscious images. A low fi rasp grows throughout the course of the song. Then it continues into the next song, Open the Wormhole in Your Heart. Here, the lead vocal is a bit like Bono, but the wavery distorted notes are worlds away from U2.

Claws Overhead wraps up with the psychedelic So Sick of the Sun. It's a hazy shimmer, a billowing fog. The echoes refuse to decay, creating a Frippertronic wall of sound that is wispy thin as it enfolds the song. An acoustic guitar provides a basic rhythm that emphasizes the hypnotic clouds of echo. A good strong golden ale from Belgium is the right partner for this music.

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