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Ghost - Lama Rabi Rabi CD (album) cover

LAMA RABI RABI

Ghost

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.02 | 10 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

HolyMoly
Special Collaborator
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl and Canterbury Teams
4 stars The Japanese psychedelic folk band Ghost is at its best on this album, their third, released in 1996. Acoustic guitarist/vocalist Masaki Batoh is the spiritual leader of this very spiritual band, always at the center of a sound that varies from quiet and pastoral to loud and aggressive on this album. The most dominant instruments are hand percussion, flutes, acoustic guitar, and piano, to varying degrees from number to number. A band that comes to mind that is similar would be Jade Warrior, especially on their early instrumentals. The wonderful thing about Ghost is how they sound like they were plucked out of another age and dimension... the kind of music you can imagine floating through the air in ancient times. And I believe that of all their albums, this one achieves that sound the best.

"Mastillah" opens the album as a perfect mood setter, floating and drifting. "RabiRabi" carries the same drifting feeling but with a much more aggressive, stormy arrangement with loud electric bass, searing electric guitar feedback and insistent chanting. "Into the Alley" takes things back down, as Batoh gives us a simple sung ballad on acoustic guitar. "Marrakech" goes back into darker realms with a distorted singing voice and plodding rhythm on acoustic instruments. "Who Found a Lost Rose in the Warship?" sounds like a long lost folk song incorporating banjo, jews harp and either a recorder or a piccolo, along with a sad sung melody. "Mex Square Blue" keeps the banjo going, with a recorder melody taking the lead.

"My Hump is a Shell" is one of the most striking numbers here, a brief instrumental duet between acoustic guitar and Theremin, really really pretty stuff. "Bad Bone" is the most rock-oriented song here, with a memorable bass riff carrying the song along. "Abyssinia" brings in a sitar (I only wish there was more sitar on this album) and another very distinctly Eastern folk melody in the vocals. "Agate Scape", the nearly 11-minute penultimate track, is a wonderful display of building intensity and tension. It begins as a gentle folk ballad with acoustic guitar, bells, and piano - but around the three minute mark, it very slowly builds layers of instruments, slowly gets louder, and slowly adds dissonance over the course of several instrumental minutes, before returning to the quiet beginning. The final track, "Summer's Ashen Fable", concludes the album with a gentle piano-led folk melody, quietly bringing things to a close.

Although there is a good variety of sounds on this album, as well as a good mix of loud and quiet numbers, once you've heard the first minute or so of any track, you're not going to be surprised by the rest of it. Despite the occasional aggressive moments, this is more of a meditative album than anything else. But in that capacity, this is one of the more seductive and emotional albums I've come across in recent years. Masaki Batoh is a visionary musician seemingly transported from another age, and he has led Ghost to a near-masterpiece here. Falls short of five stars only because a few of the songs sound a little too similar to other songs on the album, but this is still one to check out if you love acoustic psychedelia or Eastern folk music.

HolyMoly | 4/5 |

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