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Ghost Circus biography
A chance meeting of artists in 2004 on an internet message board brought together Ronald Wahle of the Netherlands with Chris Brown of Tennessee. What spawned from that meeting is the highly evolved progressive rock duo, GHOST CIRCUS. Two years of collaboration culminated in the duo's first album, 'Cycles', which highlights a detailed look at modern society as well as personal introspective struggles.

'Cycles' is modern AOR influenced by progressive rock. Blending the richness of sound and production from days long-gone with a modern approach and sensibility and existing in its own unequalled hemisphere.

'Cycles' was released in 2006 on the ProgRock Records label. This is an album with a lot of melody, musicianship and hooks and should appeal to fans of Rush, Saga, Kansas, and Spocks Beard.

In 2008, GHOST CIRCUS returned with the release of their second album, 'Across the Line", a concept album following one man's path from death to the hereafter; a ghost story from a unique perspective. Significant equipment upgrades to both studios has allowed for a wider and more accurate expression of the duos' unusual musical vision. 'Across the Line' proves that GHOST CIRCUS has melded into a cohesive blend of the eclectic talents of Chris Brown and Ronald Wahle.

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GHOST CIRCUS discography

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GHOST CIRCUS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.18 | 12 ratings
4.03 | 18 ratings
Across the Line

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 Cycles by GHOST CIRCUS album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.18 | 12 ratings

Ghost Circus Crossover Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Internet has the power to unite people and the Ghost Circus project was born this way in 2004, when American Chris Brown met Dutch Ronald Wahle through an internet forum.Sharing the same vision around music, the two musicians decided to collaborate with the help of technology and came up with an album in 2006.Both played keyboards and guitars, Brown provided also the vocals and bass parts and recorded them at the Stuffy Room Studio in USA, while Wahle provided the drums and recorded his parts at RWA Studio in The Netherlands.Brown got in touch with Shawn Gordon and the album ''Cycles'' was released by the major label ProgRock Records.

The two men did a fantastic job, despite the huge distance between them, and offer a melodic Heavy Prog album, full of energy, power and grandieur, characterized by the tremendous rhythmic parts, the great solos and the unique vocals of Chris Brown, who's voice actually would be a perfect fit for a Hard Rock band with its hoarse color.You should not expect something too complex from ''Cycles'', the focus here is on furious riffs, sharp synths and dynamic rhythmic passages, however the compositions are more than simplistic structured with three out of the nine tracks clocking at 8 minutes or long, containing some notable variations.The music is basically guitar-driven with a nice supporting role by the keyboards and a few effects and sampled sounds/instruments added for good measure in a typical contemporary Prog field.The overall sound has strong similarities with acts such as ALSO EDEN, NINE STONES CLOSE, PORCUPINE TREE or COSMOGRAF, maybe a bit more on the heavier and more accesible side of things, but the excellent choruses, the shifting climates and the very tight arrangements result an album full of enjoyable moments, that can be emotional, dramatic, sensitive or enraged.The absolute highlights of the album are the dual guitar parts provided by the duo, definitely among the preferences of all fans, who love both Rock and Prog Music.

Really strong debut with an emphasis on the rock content, while the proggy vibes are also numerous.A fantastic addition for all lovers of really energetic and passionate musicianship.Warmly recommended.

 Across the Line by GHOST CIRCUS album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.03 | 18 ratings

Across the Line
Ghost Circus Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars This 2008 album was the second from multi-instrumentalists Chris Brown (from Tennessee) and Ronald Wahle (from The Netherlands) who 'met' in 2004 on a Neal Morse message board. In fact, these guys have never actually recorded in the same studio, but somehow have produced an album that sounds like a full band and not a project in any sense of the word. Chris provides vocals, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass guitar and keyboards while Ronald provides drums, percussion, keyboards and rhythm guitar. Having 'live' drums makes all the difference to any band, and when these guys crank it up they drive the music along. What makes this such a fine album is the sheer diversity of styles on play, so while they seamlessly move through symphonic prog, plenty of moogs etc they also bring in melodic hard rock and AOR-style vocals.

Melody is the heart of what they are doing, combined with a real sense of not wanting to stay within any particular style but instead going where the music leads them. This means that a Saga style prog epic such as "Holding On" has a great singalong chorus that will stick in your head and stay there. They even have a 25 minute plus song, and why not!? Accessible, fun and full of balls, this is a great album.

 Cycles by GHOST CIRCUS album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.18 | 12 ratings

Ghost Circus Crossover Prog

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

3 stars "Cycles" delivers thoughtful and catchy art-rock that wears its heart on its sleeve, giving us fine performances and a very polished presentation. As a debut of this serendipitus duo it scores high marks for talented songwriting and dedication to a mature rock sound which leans closely into the neo-prog category with its heavy use keyboards and extended tapestries of sound.

Songwriting and structure sticks closely to a sort of psuedo-AOR style, which although is wonderfully melodic, lacks the hooks and enthusiasm to ever make it on the radio (fine by me). Instead, "Cycles" enjects that style with an artistic depth of synthesizers and introspective guitar work. There is a lot of variety in dymanics, with rockin', guitar-led choruses playing over layers and layers of keyboards. The sample song here on PA is a good example of the album's upbeat material (and is probably the standout track on the album), but others, like "Trick of the Light" takes its time to build, using almost 3 minutes of synth to get started before dropping the hammer on driving riffing. The album's end result is a cool vibe possessing en electric kick (almost metal in the instrumental "Send-Return") against a reserved and mature backdrop, even though no new ground is broken in terms of composition.

Brown's vocals are smooth and easy to listen to, but probably the least ambitious part of this album. His tenor rarely musters up much gusto, and his range is limited; it feels like he's playing it safe, which sometimes limites the impact of the songs. Lyrical content is passionate and very earnst though, and although the content is clearly the sorts of mundane stuff two middle-aged guys would sing about, they remain engaging.

Considering that these two guys are responsible for every note (although the rhythm instruments are unremarkable), "Cycles" is an impressive release. Recommended for anyone seeking a fun bit of smart AOR crossover and wants to root for a prog-underdog; however, "Cycles" needs more flair and songwriting bravery to get that extra star.

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Thanks to rushfan4 for the artist addition.

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