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Ghost - In Stormy Nights

  by Andrew Carver

published: 21 / 1 / 2007

Ghost - In Stormy Nights
Label: Drag City
Format: CD


Vital ninth album from durable, experimental acid folk outfit Ghost

The meteorological title of Ghost’s latest album is an apt one. 'In Stormy Nights' shifts from the bucolic folk of the band's earliest days to an elemental jumble of noise. 'Motherly Bluster' begins the album with a classic dose of the veteran band’s acid folk. Masaki Batoh’s voice drifts along overtop acoustic guitar, a stately contrabass and tinkling wind chimes. 'Hemicyclic Anthelion', the album’s half-hour centrepiece, pays far less respect to formal songcraft, kicking off with the gurgling crash of guitar reverb and a two-tone electronic scree, interspersed with the saw of violins, shimmering metal percussion, echoing feedback, the hooting of brass and speckles and stabs of piano. The track never quite resolves into a song, instead trickling along like the work of California avant noise outfit Thuja before returning to the shuddering two-step of its nativity and some lysergic, Acid Mothers Temple-style lead guitar. After a brief break for a jazzy filip of piano notes, further gentle cymbal work and vibraphone it lapses into sinuous flute and stalking contrabass overlaying a sinister, wavering electronic tone. The lengthy exploration of Ghost’s noisier side segues into the martial rhythms of 'Water Door Yellow Gate'; before long Batoh’s singing is replaced by the crash of timpani and Michio Kurihari’s long, searing guitar lines before a near-seamless transition into 'Gareki No Toshi'. Batoh returns, but this time his voice has been distorted into a distant radio harangue buried under the thudding rolls of a military marching drum and machinegun electric hiss. The effect is not unlike the similar harangue of 'We Insist' from 'Tune In, Turn On, Free Tibet' – Ghost’s other free-ranging effort from 1999. The band’s cover of Crogmagnon’s 'Caledonia' features more thundering percussion and distorted vocals, this time accompanied by a jaunty recorder that gives the track a Celtic feel. For the final song, 'Grisaille', Ghost returns to the gentle folk of the opener, with some suitably overdriven guitar licks from Kurihara in the coda. Even if it doesn’t reach the stunning heights of its predecessor, 'Hypnotic Underworld', 'In Stormy Nights' is a vital addition to the band’s body of work.

Track Listing:-
1 Motherly Bluster
2 Hemicyclic Anthelion
3 Water Door Yellow Gate
4 Gareki No Toshi
5 Caledonia
6 Grisaille

Label Links:-

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live reviews

93 Feet East, London, 21/5/2007
Ghost - 93 Feet East, London, 21/5/2007
Over in Britain to promote their ninth album 'In Stormy Nights', Daniel Cressey watches durable Japanese group Ghost perform a hypnotic set of swirling psychedelic rock


Profile (2004)
Ghost - Profile
After four years away, Japanese experimentalists Ghost recently returned with their seventh album, 'Hypnotic Underworld', which many critics say is their best work yet. Andrew Carver looks back over and examines their extraordinary career

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