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Ghost - Temple Stone CD (album) cover

TEMPLE STONE

Ghost

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.64 | 5 ratings

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HolyMoly
Special Collaborator
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl and Canterbury Teams
3 stars Ghost are an inspired psychedelic acoustic folk band from Japan, led by acoustic guitarist/singer Masaki Batoh. While their later material incorporated more electric instruments and spacey improvisations, this is Ghost in their early days, playing the kind of ancient spiritual music reminiscent of the original Amon Duul band. Temple Stone is their third release, nominally a "live album", but actually more of a re visitation of some of their early repertoire in a new setting, namely an actual temple. To my ears, this is the way this kind of music was meant to be heard; compared to the original renditions on their first two albums, these versions feel MUCH more warm and authentic. In fact, the arrangements are so different, they may as well be all new songs.

Using the ambiance of the temple as almost its own instrument, the band takes advantage of the natural feel of the room with reverberating acoustic guitars, impassioned vocals, lots of flutes, what sounds like a bowed bass, occasional piano, and hand percussion. This is the music you might expect to overhear if you were passing by a Buddhist temple. This is Spirit Music; it's the real thing.

For the most part, the songs themselves aren't particularly stunning, but the mood they create cannot be denied. My absolute favorite is "Moungod Asleep", a very simple number with a repeating piano figure (absent in the original version on the debut album) and a simple folk melody that imparts a deep sense of spiritual longing. Things occasionally get pretty chaotic, as on the track "Blood Red River", in which free-form banging on pianos, percussion (including real drums this time) gone awry, and shrieking vocals create a disturbing atmosphere. But for the most part, the album is meditative, mellow, and melancholy.

HolyMoly | 3/5 |

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