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Edward Ka-Spel – Ghost Logik

Rustblade

This is like a spider’s web of sonic backgrounds, songs hanging to the sticky radials like cocooned insect, trapped meals in the spectral dust of some netherworld. The title may give it away, but this happily avoids any chain rattling cliché.

“Throwing Things” is probably the only complete song here that bears the greatest Legendary Pink Dots hallmark. Although definitions between solo and band are often mercurially blurred affairs, this is a gorgeous avant-pop nugget floating out on a glissando duvet of a backing, so catchy, I kept having these slo-mo visions of last year’s London riots whilst singing along, “I’m throwing things, I can’t help it, that’s the mood I’m in,” that distinctive southwest accent purring through your lobes. “You stand transfixed,” he continues, “so fetching with your crucifix, still I’m throwing things,” goes that mischievous voice as ambiguity opens out into the possible chill of poltergeist activity. A chill that permeates most of the other tracks, Edward Ka-Spel delivering his observation with a whispered, semi-opaqueness, words savouring every detail like some magnified eye peering into a dissected animal’s innards. You can almost feel a salivated tongue skipping the syllables as the ordinary is often twisted into the extraordinary. The ambiences folding round the wordplay in waif-like candy; electronic burrs making shadow puppets with your subconscious.

“The Voyeur” is a fantastically focused tale. One of a deceased husband watching over his lover through the peacock print of the wallpaper; the sense of place is immense as the headphones itch in spooky vignettes, burn as phosphorescent as the quietly spoken scenic descriptions. “I’m in those eyes you’re staring into your tea,” goes Mr Ka-Spel; words evaporate as a musty salute to the fallen gives way to a mulched animus and the slow shifting of furniture – a well crafted concoction of unnatural lights that planktonise with kite-like cuts. “Favourite Things parts 1-3” has this drifting piano melody, hydraulic sweeps of mechanisation waltzing around it, the ivories like pin holes in card. A filter-washed melancholy opening curtains for a nursery rhyme dance of vocal that seems to be reciting a last will and testament of sorts: “I’ll give it all to you, my book of stamps, that lava lamp,” skips his voice, followed by a lilting chorus of “to have to hold, “never grow old.’ Vocals that descend into an interference of voices, cutlery calliper and firefly-copters, with a shock hobo mutter breaking the spell in glass slipping frames and ebonised robotics.

The rain splattered concrete of “The Bunker” gives out another short LPD(ish) visitation, a purring of vocals through semi-abrasive static, quickly overtaken in dronic temperament, felt-covered anvil and hammer beating out regularities, thrashing wheat and curling thunders – textures collapsing, evolving with lots of differing colourations – unpredictably spinning between extremes, finally grabbled up and thrown away on a misfiring of public information loudspeakers; it’s as if you were rollercoastering in somebody else’s memories. “Brighton Line,” as with “The Voyeur,” is another track with a strong sense of haunt about it. Starts with a brew of wonky pulsations and decaying tracklines and scratchy spikes of needle on vinyl, light and spacious textures that allude to heavier gravities mingled with odd fluxations and half whispers in the machine. The narration is an intense close-contact type one (like the majority of this album relishes in) to great effect. As the words slowly levitate and drift among borrowed daydreams, a tale of playing cuckoo with a moving train transforms to some invisible entity wandering the carriages, sucking up the inertia of drowsy commuters. A weave of distorted reality around dead space, as if the Sandman’s fingers were holding eyelids firmly down. The sonic bleed plays inside your head like an uninvited guest as music hall jazz flows down empty corridors to a chorus of “Wake up, wake up, you sleepy head… bad man coming for you…”

By the time the album ends in a mangle of a fleur-de-lys music box, seemingly cranking itself in ever metallic combs, you’re left with the sense that you’re surrounded by whispering phantoms everywhere you look.

-Michael Rodham-Heaps-

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