[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
This was a nice surprise to have appear in one’s inbox! A series of beautifully arranged compositions which let the mind stretch out and wander, never once wondering where it’s going but just knowing there’s something to be discovered. Magnetic Ghost is the project of one Andrew Larson and concerns itself primarily with open spaces and our strange need to fill them.
Years and years ago I lived on a farm and every morning was what I’m hearing here. The empty horizons, the stark silences and the remote isolation which can drive a person mad… for some other reason I keep getting the visualization of fields lying fallow before they are gradually irrigated and then put to work.
Sparse guitars which at times collide into one another punctuate his words which are more incantations than any sort of lyric I’ve heard. Then again, he’s the one orchestrating all of this so perhaps he sees something the rest of us don’t. For me this one of those records where loud volume and a massive sound field are absolutely necessary, you don’t want to try and compress what’s going on here by confining his music to computer speakers or casual perusals in the car. “Medicine” is certainly a contender for perfectly encapsulating what Magnetic Ghost are hoping to achieve. His vocal harmonies mesh together wonderfully while low lying bass and primal percussion keep the show moving.
While going over these six tunes again and again what struck me is how much attention has been paid to where individual notes go and what kind of mood they impart. He definitely spent a lot of time refining each one of these. “Sleeping is Believing” is a powerful study of raw field recordings riven by delightfully unpredictable waves of feedback which then evolve into a gently soothing lullaby. ‘Loss Molecules’ is absolutely an end of night sort of affair. You don’t begin your evening playing this one oh no; it is the feel of your lids drooping and rising subconscious tides encroaching to envelop you that this release exemplifies.
By no means is this a tranquil collection of wallflower tunes, they are vast and timeless creations meant to fire your imagination on every level. Each time I play through Andrew’s material a flood of images charges at me and try as I might I cannot process them all.. a few slip through and are never the same ones. “Landfill” is driven by muscular riffs which push and shove their way to the foreground and then are subsumed by pretty chains wrought out of both his voice and precisely placed drum beats.
I’m sporting a ridiculous grin while blaring it currently, odds are those who check this out will also.
We unfortunately run out of songs with “Total Eclipse of the Sun” closing this ode to barren, deserted land splendidly; a waltz which transforms to becomes a celebratory cascade of harmonic bliss while continually sneaking diverse elements in as it winds down. I felt like some of these were the edits and that longer versions do exist which have yet to be released so I checked out his site and would you look at that? He has more coming and it promises to be an even bigger aural canvas, let the countdown begin.