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Album Review

Ghost Rhythms: Spectral Music

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Ghost Rhythms: Spectral Music
After the self-produced Imaginary Mountains (2020) French experimental collective Ghost Rhythms returns to Cuneiform Records with a sequel to Live At Yoshiwara (Cuneiform Records, 2019). With roughly ten pieces, it is a band with a wide range of tonal colors; the band's leaders, drummer Xavier Gélard and keyboardist Camille Petit, have resumed their compositional role (with a bit of input from other band members). "Parapente/Paraglider" opens the album with a minimal keyboard groove and voices, joined by the rhythm section and horns for a powerful driving climax, reminiscent of Philip Glass. "Thoughtography" builds on the minimal groove approach, this time with fuller instrumentation, including trumpet. Accordion, cello and violin also have an important role, a nod to traditional French music.

"Odradek" introduces an Arabic influence, utilizing the oud as well as modal melodies (not to mention Alexis Collin's prominent accordion). "Le Mont Marsal/The Marsal Mount '' has a distinctly jazz flavor, with Julien Bigorgne's flute featured over a rhythm section with percussion, piano, guitar and bass (as well as more accordion, one of the defining sounds of the group). The title tune comes in two parts. Part 1 introduces a driving odd-meter ostinato which builds to a full band arrangement before breaking down to rhythm section and flute solo, followed by a polyphonic section with acoustic guitar (including a recitation about dreams) and a Maxime Thiébaut saxophone solo. Part 2 continues the ostinato in a new arrangement, introduced by bass guitar, piano and horns, and featuring an electric guitar solo before moving into a bit of chamber music, with Sarah Baroux's vocals taking center stage.

"L'Autre Versant/The Other Side" begins with a jagged cello line, soon joined by the rhythm section and horns. Thiébaut's saxophone solo takes the arrangement into guitar and flute solos before returning to cello, accordion and saxophone counterpoint. "Uchimizu" mainly focuses on groove, although it also again features flute solo work from Bigorgne. Closer "Tumulte opaque/Opaque Uproar" begins with a text reading "this all happened in a dream" before launching into a minimalist repetitive ostinato with narration. The narration continues, while the music goes into increasingly free territory. The conclusion features a drum solo from co-bandleader Gélard, and comes to a satisfying ending.

As always, this music is a winning and eclectic blend of rock, classical, and folk music. Forced to employ more overdubbing than usual due to the pandemic, it nonetheless retains the energy of an ensemble accustomed to playing together live.

Track Listing

Parapente/Paraglider; Thoughtography/Toughtography; Odradek/Odradek; Le Mont Marsal/The Marsal Mount; A distance/A Distance; Spectral Music, 1/Spectral Music, 1; Vie de Wyatt Hopper/A Life of Wyatt Hopper; Spectral Music, 2/Spectral Music, 2; L'Autre Versant/The Other Side; Uchimizu/Uchimizu; Tumulte opaque/Opaque Uproar.

Personnel

Ghost Rhythms: band/orchestra; Guillaume Aventurin: guitar; Sarah Baroux: voice / vocals; Julien Bigorgne: flute; Sonia Bricout: voice / vocals; Alexis Collin: accordion; Xavier Gélard: drums; Gregory Kosovski: bass; Jérôme Lacquet: trumpet; Morgan Lowenstein: percussion; Nadia Mejri-Chapelle: cello; Tom Namias: guitar; Camille Petit: keyboards; Maxime Thiébaut: saxophone; Antoine Villedieu: violin.

Additional Instrumentation

Guillaume Aventurin: guitars; Sarah Baroux: voices (7); Julien Bigorgne: flute, oud; Sonia Bricout: voices (5); Alexis Collin: accordion, voices; Xavier Gélard: drums, guitars, voices; Gregory Kosovski: bass; Jérôme Lacquet: trumpet (2); Morgan Lowenstein: percussion; Nadia Mejri-Chapelle: cello; Tom Namias: guitars, bouzouki; Camille Petit: keyboards, voices, editing; Maxime Thiébaut: reeds; Antoine Villedieu: violins.

Album information

Title: Spectral Music | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Cuneiform Records


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