Sunday, January 22, 2006

Turns out there's a musical genre being investigated, documented and perpetrated by the blogosphere - hauntology. There are a bunch of lists being made chronicling the artists that could be included in this genre, it's many styles and moods. Gutterbreakz' article (linked above) links to several other articles, which link to several more. It's music that's spooky and spartan and spans all genres - there's hauntology tracks in rock, it's rooted in dub, electronica, library music and any other number of styles. Scribe Simon Reynolds' take on his blissblog lists Friday's Mekons track as part of his "Web Of Ghosts" thread. Angry Robot's piece about Ghost Box is also relevant. It's interesting stuff, and if you're a fan of experimental music it's worth your further investigation.

Here's some music that I think fits into the whole hauntology scheme from Talk Talk's 1988 masterpiece Spirit Of Eden. Gone are the days of the heady synthpop confections of their first three albums, with their big sing-along choruses. In it's place is fractured, languidly spaced out art rock without a catchy chorus in sight. Space as in trippy psychedelia and space as in "there's a lot of space in between the noises" - spartan and minimal is the order of the day. There are even long gaps of silence in between some of the tracks. Some of the space is occasionally punctured by intense moments of shredding guitar or pounding percussion. It was a breathtaking, career killing step away from who they were. It is one of those records that speaks to some people in the way only music can, like the way Boards Of Canada inspires feelings of childhood nostalgia in me and many others. Check out some of the stories that people tell about their experience with this album - scroll down the page a little. The Rainbow opens the record with eight minutes of spine tingling and yes, haunting, intensity. You just have to listen to it - my words won't do it justice.

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