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The Owl Watches - Ghost Of A Train CD (album) cover


The Owl Watches


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.00 | 1 ratings

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Dan Bobrowski
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Phil McKenna takes a twisted journey through a ghostly, mellotron drenched, railway station, by way of King Crimson's Robert Fripp and Djam Karet. "Ghosts" being the operative word here, spine-chilling interludes of synths and mellotrons carry the mood. At slightly under 40 minutes, Ghost of a Train is a quick joyride.

Coal and Dust Prelude opens the disc with a pulsing steam-engine throb, offset by synth and some mean Frippian hyper-distorted single notes.

Ghost of a Train will scare the bejesus out of you. At first you are lulled with piano tinkles and then the film noir mellotron adds tension before the Crimsonesque power displays sets the crime scene into washes of color and mayhem. A heavy distort bass lays down a thick bottom and the frippian guitar re-emerges. Very tasty Djam Karet styled heavy rock. Powerful.

Distant Wolves & a Brakeman's Song is a spooky lullaby. The perfect song to frighten your children with at bedtime. The sound effects add the woodland night shadows in the corners of your mind.

Requiem for an Engineer features a fretless bass-line, hand percussions, mellotron and stinging guitar. This may be my favorite track. In Three Days is a solo electric guitar piece. Great ear candy, but much too short. I am reminded of Bucketheads Electric Dreams.

The Mysterious old Roundhouse is another mellotron drenched nightmare. Choppy electric piano chords, crashing percussives and reverb soaked guitar abound. More Frippian licks and hammond. More scary moments from Mr. M.

The Hammond on Dust Remembers is a creepy carousel before the Frippian guitar attack. Some nice electric piano jangles bounce along with a touch of Holdsworth- styled runs followed by some eerie owl noises make a dark room shrink. The castenets remind me of chattering teeth, overlaid by more organ washes. A well placed gong strike nearly made me jump, only to cower at the mellotron entrance.

The final track, Waiting for the Last Express, is a simple solo guitar piece. A nice melody that slowly builds. I would have liked this track to carry on a bit longer.

Worthy of exploration and igniting more than a few smiles of wicked delight as the music paints ethereal soundscapes that are sometimes very frightening.

All in all, 3.5 stars solid. I was edging towards 4, but I need to see if this release has legs. I'd recommend this album to King Crimson and Djam Karet fans or anyone who loves mellotron, be scared shitless, or Fripp fanatics. Great work, Phil!

Hoo Hoo!

Dan Bobrowski | 3/5 |


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