written by Ben Hogwood
What’s the story?
Ghost Power is the meeting of two minds – Jeremy Novak (Dymaxion) and Timothy Gane (Stereolab, Cavern of Anti-Matter and Turn On). The pair have both made tracks for Duophonic Super 45s in a solo capacity, but now they unite for a ten-track instrumental album, recorded both remotely and in person in Berlin and New York.
What’s the music like?
A lot of fun. This is music made for pure enjoyment, but there are plenty of levels to it as well. Both musicians are clearly well voiced in 1970s funk and movie music, for they make descriptive pieces that use the band in a virtuosic way.
Panic In The Isles Of Splendour is a great example of this, with drum fills, keyboard bleeps and propulsive bass lines that tell of the influence of Krautrock, too. By this time Asteroid Witch has already given us a burst of break beats, the equivalent of a Ghost Power signature tune.
On the softer side sit atmospheric tracks like Inchwork, a smoky affair laden with suspense – again offering the listener the equivalent of a 70s crime series or movie. It is one of the album’s best tracks.
Grimalkin combines the two elements. In music Lalo Schifrin would be proud of, it evokes a sultry day but with all sorts of shenanigans taking place in the shadows over another dusty drum beat. Then we have the crowning glory, the Astral Melancholy Suite, a fifteen minute epic. Early drone sections sandwich a mysterious interlude, the listener seemingly underground with eerie echoes and atmospherics, before the music starts to bubble and oscillate, as a classic Krautrock track might do, gathering momentum. Then the bottom falls away and we are left with some wonderful synth sounds, and a rippling mid-range texture to finish.
Does it all work?
It does. There is no pretence on this album, just a clutch of really good instrumentals packed with great riffs. They never outstay their welcome.
Is it recommended?
It is. Fans of Stereolab should drink it up, but to be honest if you are a fan of Can and the like then there is a good deal to enjoy here.