Artist: Ghost & Writer
Release Date: 28th January 2011
Label: Dependent Records
Remember? A few years back, particularly in 2006, American label Nilaihah Records released 'Fourplay Vol.1', amongst others including the first efforts of GHOST & WRITER with the tracks 'From Hell' and 'Hitman' as well as corresponding remixes. It always felt to me like the whole thing went mostly unnoticed. That is likely to change with the release of the debut album 'Shipwrecks' this Friday.
The first song I was just talking about, 'From Hell', was chosen the opening cut of the album telling the story of a soul that seems to have received punishment for the things done in life; a never-ending TV show in Big Brother manner with no privacy included, just here the difference is the souls didn't volunteer and are forced to spend eternity on air. A horrible scenery and given its nature it's even more absurd why people give up their privacy for the chance to win money. The Jack The Ripper reference is intentional and absolutely fitting if you think about it. The track itself has more of an indie than an electronic feel, regardless of the break beats and differs substantially from the musical fields you have heard Frank in already. 'Hitman' is like a retrospection of a man, conceiving a plan to bring his lifeline to an end, ending up with enlisting the help of a contract killer. That he now is able to tell the story at all indicates the plot turned out different, but the end is kept open to imagination. Contrary to the opener, 'Hitman' keeps a rather clubby vibe and is much more suitable for club use than 'From Hell'.
Comparing the GHOST & WRITER 'Capsized' to the EDGE OF DAWN 'Capsized' it strikes you that is has a real vintage and elegant sound styling to it. At times you could come to think it's been crafted with the help of some of the earliest synthesizers. It could just as well have been part of a 1920s movie like that. A song sent through a time warp and the result is very intriguing in my opinion. A soundtrack-like quality is also attached to the now following 'Nightshift'. Here the modernity and history find a nexus and together paint the picture of a city that sometimes feels you've been there before; other times reveals its fundamental difference, like the story it's telling in a pictorial language. Some you can connect to and others that are hard to unravel. Next up is 'Man On A Wire', still available as free download teaser from the label's website, whose melody phasing into reality from the metaphysical ether on a breeze of cold air while the plot is gaining contours; having a mysterious man as main character; invisible himself while he himself never lets a particular person out of sight. Is she a future victim, or is this describing the start of an uncertain future together?
I tend to think of it as being the last one. The lyrics seem to tell of certain stops in the biography of a man, defined by only little flashes of luck in a sea of unhappiness. The build of the track can be described best with organic electronics. Even a flavour of punk is mixed in one time, but overall it's atmosphere that dominates the scenery. Next we take a look into a martyred soul, flying over 'Minefields', created by long years of pain, and those fields change you, rarely for the better and make it hard for people to really get through to you. Also because you just don't see that something's actually wrong. It's a state you'd wish for no one to be in, but with the right person at your side you might be able to gain clarity, see that something's wrong and find a way out. 'Minefields' is quite a poppy tune with orchestral force, lending the melodic backdrop to the enigmatic lyrics. 'Integrity' is the inner voice of a corrupt being; telling he's still better than the rest and completely innocent, and then there's another voice bringing in evidence against him and the arrogance he's driven by. It's a bit like with politicians don't you think?
Even though the requirements of a straight beat are there, 'Integrity' is nothing for the clubs. For that the build still is too complex and intricate. Closing 'Fraud' on the other hand could very well be played in such environments and I wouldn't be surprised if it found a regular place in DJ Set. On that track, Frank switches between German and English lyrics while unveiling a deception, feigned affection or the pretention to be broken just to get what one wants. Might be attention or sex; could be anything else just as well, but the bottom line is it's going to hurt, once the 'Fraud' is revealed. On 'Shipwrecks', every of the album tracks has gotten a remix treatment. 'From Hell' by IRIS for example is stripped of break beats and instead received a very straight sonic painting. The GHOST take on 'Mindfields' is remarkable, emphasizing thick clouds of atmospheres with only little parts really being underscored by rhythm. The closing renditions of 'Integrity' and 'Fraud' each are like their original's counterparts. The lack of club compatibility is now added by THE ALPHA CONSPIRACY on 'Integrity', and ACRETONGUE strips just that off 'Fraud' for most of the time, instead injecting gloomy textures, as well as distorted and in parts glitch patterns.
The debut album of GHOST & WRITER has been long time in coming but it was all worth the waiting. 'Shipwrecks' takes you on a journey, compels you with its stories which are offering enough stuff for discussions about their possible backgrounds. The sound is hard to categorize but a certain soundtrack-like quality can hardly be denied. It's something like a series that with every episode brings different revelations. They idea of adding a remix album right after the original one deserves credit with the remixes really offering new angles on the tracks. Absolutely recommended!
01. From Hell - 3:24
02. Hitman - 3:58
03. Capsized - 3:57
04. Nightshift - 4:49
05. Man on a Wire - 3:40
06. Minefields (feat. Miss FD) - 3:11
07. Integrity - 3:19
08. Fraud - 3:20
09. From Hell (Iris) - 5:24
10. Hitman (File not Found) - 3:51
11. Capsized (Edge of Dawn) - 4:30
12. Nightshift (Diskonnekted) - 5:42
13. Man on a Wire (Versus) - 3:15
14. Minefields (Ghost) - 3:40
15. Integrity (The Alpha Conspiracy) - 4:39
16. Fraud (Acretongue) - 5:05
Frank M. Spinath
Jimmyjoe Snark III
Total: 9 / 10