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Ghosting Season

The Very Last Of The Saints

[Last Night On Earth; 2012]

By ; June 15, 2012 

Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOG

At first glance Ghosting Season read as a Berlin-toned ambient techno duo with a bit of unlikely spit-flecked energy smeared onto the gritted kick that drives their oily, crinkled soundscapes. It might be a little more than reductive to call Ghosting Season minimal techno meets post-rock, though it is an accurate descriptor and perhaps their most immediately defining attribute. If you chance to see these guys in a live environment, the two bounce between a pair of bobbing DJs and toes-together rock damagers like it’s not at all strange to hang an axe off your back while you tweak the decks. Ghosting Season’s post-rock-isms materialize in tremolo picking, squalls of feedback, and build-and-release dynamics (and long, elusive album titles). But as easy as it is to imagine high concept tendencies getting the better of a dance outfit, the Manchester duo sticks to more minimal designs, appropriating their left-field, rockist pallet into more familiar and compelling techno designs.

The Very Last Of The Saints opener, “Ghost Drift” pivots on a classic shimmering ambient tech synth loop before jumping onto a Chain Reaction-esque bass groove. It is tempting to outline all the places Saints touches on its post-rock leanings, but the record’s most intriguing aspects are the submerged details that haunt the bottom of each track like languishing incorporeal figments. “Ghost Drift” itself hardly announces Ghosting Season as a guitar-friendly dance outfit, instead focusing on its supple rhythm and growling textural rifts, which might be feedback poured through a thousand years of delay, but who cares? “Far End Of The Graveyard,” on the other hand, is all transcendence-seeking upward momentum with its tremolo melodies dancing from one end of the stereo spectrum to the other as decaying white noise is crushed beneath the constant 4/4. By the time standout “A Muffled Sound Of Voices” rolls around, all sense of novelty is gone, if it was ever there to begin with. The track is a beautiful swirl of deliciously crunchy percussion, spectral, wordless vocal samples, fermented bass tones, and roiling energy.

Saints isn’t content in rehashing formula, despite a consistent sense of build throughout the album. Each track has enough emotional identity to challenge most techno working in the same realm. “Follow Your Eyes” is a subdued piano and strings ballad with some muffled male vocals before a storm of competing textures threaten to tip it over. Ambient centerpiece “Lie” balances on reverberating, bell-like guitar tones while a man recounts a violent dream. “Pio” is the most divergent track on the record, spinning a web of heaving, glimmering textures and chopped up vocals and reverent, ecstatic synth stabs. Closer “13” might be the most ambitious track: a steady, beautiful climb upwards with gasps of a female vocal weaving in and out around a squashed kick and splashing, water-logged percussion.

Ghosting Season are only a couple years into their lifespan, but they’ve arrived with a unique sound that outdoes any genre baggage they might otherwise symbolize. The Very Last Of The Saints is a solid debut and commendable for its clarity of vision. The duo manages to balance explorative and purposeful construction, working within the intricacies of each track to build toward orchestral heights. Its unlikely pallets work as more of an expansion of ambient technique rather than the questionable, all-too-simple marriage of power chords and Berlin atmospherics that seems likely to exist elsewhere in predictably ill-advised states. Saints sheds its initial post-rock stipulations in favor of something more inspired and complex.


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