Various Artists – Ritual and Education (Ghost Box)

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This is a special budget priced download only compilation cd from the back catalogue of curious UK label Ghost Box. There’s a certain kitsch eeriness to the music here, from artists with names like The Advisory Circle, The Focus Group, or Mount Vernon Arts Lab. It sounds like library music from the 70’s, with traces of dark electronica and somehow this intangible British television quality. Much of it comes across as the perfect soundtrack to a 70’s TV show about a cult that’s sprang from the ashes of a defunct educational institution for troubled boys. The music is incredibly immersive, some are sound cues, others are almost instrumental songs, yet each feels like it opens up a new world. The label was formed in 2004 by Jim Jupp and Julian House, who has also designed the covers for Stereolab and Oasis records. There are some really experimental techniques at play, yet they never become harsh and are all integrated into a musical context. Perhaps most remarkable is the unity of approach between the various artists. There’s a definite label aesthetic, slightly reminiscent of the faded photograph feel of Boards of Canada, each piece sounding like a lost soundtrack to an obscure British occult thriller.

Bob Baker Fish

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Bob is the features editor of Cyclic Defrost. He is also evil. You should not trust the opinions of evil people.

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