Ghost and Tape: Ghost and Tape
Schole Records

As the name suggests, Ghost and Tape's sound is refracted by a lo-fi production approach, with its dozen tracks often sounding like they're swimming in an ultra-thick bath of vinyl crackle, pops, and static or playing through a decades-old radio rescued from someone's attic. The self-titled album is the debut full-length from Barcelona-based Heine Christensen under the Ghost and Tape moniker. Put most simply, a typical Ghost and Tape piece embeds layers of chiming acoustic (and occasionally electric) guitar melodies within surface noise textures, and often elaborates on the basic sound by adding atmospheric vocals, crunchy beats, and treatments of various kinds (phasing effects, reverb).

Many of the songs—“Onesome” and “Automatic,” with their scratchy textures and sleepy guitar melodies, are two such instances—are of the gentle and lulling persuasion, and the album's bucolic side is accounted for handily in tracks such as “It's Morning” and “Science of Sundays.” But Christensen paints outside the lines in a number of the tracks. A slightly more experimental approach seeps into “Cradle” when a female singer's voice is shredded into fragments alongside the playing of Christensen and guest keyboardist Akira Kosemura. “Ghostday,” featuring Christensen's own smooth vocal harmonies in a contrapuntal arrangement, is pop song in melody and form but also draws upon country music in its laid-back lilting rhythms and even shoegaze in the density of its attack. There's a little bit of a post-rock quality in places that suggests affinities to an outfit such as I'm Not A Gun, the duo project of John Tejada and Takeshi Nishimoto; “Bless the Blind,” with its interlaced electric and acoustic guitar melodies presented at a mid-tempo gallop, could pass for a track by the group, for example. It's worth noting that, on this satisfying debut album, Christensen manages to reference such diverse genres without losing sight of the fundamental Ghost and Tape sound.

December 2010