Much of the music on Ghost Box sounds familiar. The label possesses an uncanny ability to mine a collective unconsciousness of late 70’s educational films you were forced to watch in primary school, library music, 80’s synth scores, British children’s sci fi and new romantic synth pop. Yet it’s their ability to amalgamate and redesign these elements into their own unique form that is truly quite amazing.
If The Belbury Circle sounds familiar too it’s probably because they are also an amalgamation, Jim Jupp from Belbury Poly and The Advisory Circle’s Jon Brooks in their first full length collaboration (they released an EP Empty Avenues in 2013). Whilst both their day jobs could to some extent fit into the above description, coming together feels even more focussed. Outward Journeys is a kind of refined nostalgia, a very British electronic psychedelic pop that’s mannered, yet when you listen closely is full of ingenious depth and surprises.
This is a fun upbeat outing with traces of wistful nostalgia. It’s expertly crafted and feels carefully controlled and considered, with just the right amount of emotion imbued. It’s a strange contradictory scenario, the nostalgia elicited in this music is for more innocent times, a yearning for the future in the past, the wide-eyed excitement of the promise of space age technology, just prior to analogue moving to digital. A sort of nostalgic futurism if you will.
It’s wholly instrumental aside from two tracks from, John Fox (Ultravox), who further enhances the synth pop elements of their music, and it really is infectious. They create a kind of clunky electro funk weighed down by wistful emotions and the duo’s fascinating ability to create a whole new world and conjure a time and place that we seem to remember, but probably never really existed.