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Ghost - Overture: Live in Nippon Yusen Soko 2006 CD (album) cover

OVERTURE: LIVE IN NIPPON YUSEN SOKO 2006

Ghost

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.93 | 5 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Stunning progressive visual document

Without question one of the most original, progressive titles released in 2007. This is an audio and video (cd/dvd) psychedelic event that will blow the minds of anyone interested in avant-garde, psych, or space music. I say music, not rock, because this is not rock and roll. It is experimental sound. Understand this is not a normal concert. It is an event as bizarre as a drug trip, as a UFO light show from '67 London. Total, unfettered improvisation. Here is what went down. The band rented a large warehouse and each member set up their instruments far away from one another. Then they hung these lace curtain dividers up between the members so that they could not make eye contact with one another. The audience was brought in to sit all around the band and the hall was darkened. On the lace curtains were projected images by a "liquid lighting team" and this visual art completely amplifies the mystery of the collective experience happening. Once in place, the doors were closed and the audience not allowed to move until the performance was over. It was really kind of spooky I'm sure as the cavernous hall created great reverberations in sound that added to the aura.

There were no written songs performed, there is no set list. "Overture" is one complete and total improvisation. The members had to come up with the evening's performance on the spot, listening to each other in the dark without being able to get the usual cues. Feeding off the energy of the crowd and trying to channel back and forth. It doesn't always work but it is fascinating. It is not loud or rocking for the most part. Most of the sounds are rather quiet and created by tabla, flute, acoustic guitar, lute, recorder, along with electric guitar, bass, drums, piano, bells. From the CD booklet: "This is nothing but a spiritual conversation between the members, which passes through the senses of the audience, thereby filling the space. The audience is an important "medium." The intention of the arrangement, positioning the players in parallel at a distance from one another, is to connect every member's sound image spiritually, as eye contact with one another is prevented. This is a meditative task. The primary acoustic feature of this space is the length of reverberation. Its tremendous reverberation of 13-15 seconds is the same as that of a limestone cave. Each feels the echo, or remaining spirit of the sound we might say, sensually and spiritually, and each overlaps his individual echo upon it."

The sounds you will hear are chaotic, frightening, dissonant, lost, wandering, rarely melodic, sometimes beautiful, always challenging. This is not for the faint of heart or someone looking for a good rocking time. It is for the very patient listener of unapologetic, slowly moving, pure improvisation. It is very difficult to offer any comparisons. It doesn't sound anything like Ummagumma, Rubycon, or free jazz in a traditional sense, but it possesses the spirit of all three at the same time. The lights literally breathe to life on the curtains as they roll and twist creating surreal silhouettes of the audience members. Images like lava lamps spill onto huge surfaces, a perfect flower appears on a wall above your head, images of people suddenly appear on the support columns, designs of all kinds are constantly changing with the music very slowly. So fantastic are the visual images that they are as important as the music itself. It's for people who want to lay on the living room floor alone and take in this experience on the television (and is presented in 5.1 surround dvd as well as stereo.) This is not a DVD you want to watch with other people unless you are certain they will sit still and shut up for 90 minutes.

It is very hard to be surprised by an album anymore, to be caught off guard, to see something unlike anything you've ever seen before. Ghost has managed to pull off a free-from visual rave as bizarre as Laurie Anderson's "Home of the Brave." In the end, the wonder of the event plays out like a beautiful religious service more than a rock concert. It is a breathtaking event. Not everyone is going to like it, in fact quite a few will not. Yet, if daring explorations into improvisation are a pillar of progressive music, this must be considered a masterpiece. Just not the kind you'll sing along to in the car. And yes, this title has extremely low PSAF (progger spouse acceptance factor) so be warned.

Finnforest | 5/5 |

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