PHIL MAGGI - GHOST LOVE idcd005
"Imagine british composer Muslimgauze (R.I.P) pulled into ambient spheres. A haunting ritual experience." VITAL WEEKLY
"Ghost Love serait à la fois la souvenance d’une romance survivant au temps qui passe et l’amour qui, parce qu’il a cessé d’être, ne cesse de vous hanter." RIF RAF
"Il s’agit là de l’une des plus belles choses que l’on ait pu entendre qui soit sortie l’an dernier." ETHEREAL
"Phil Maggi makes voices speak to each other across cultures and generations in ritual enchantment. Even the photo portrait on the cover is a close-up of a young woman who could belong to any one or any mix of cultures and could belong to most any time.
Claiming inspiration from sources as diverse as klezmer music, Leadbelly, G. I. Gurdjieff, Werner Herzog and the city of Istanbul, he might also invoke the name Robin Storey, since the opening track, ‘Blood and Heart Weavings’ sounds pulled right off any number of Rapoon´s classic mid-to-late nineties ”ethno-ambient” albums. Perhaps it is an homage.
However, Maggi’s own distinct voice emerges forthwith, as a music box of pretty, spindly tones gives way to open sky and ‘Antecedents’ limps into the drum circle, only to leave healed. Native American, Celtic, Far Eastern, Middle Eastern, Sub-Saharan sounds and sensibilities assimilate precisely with the looped or ambient accompaniment Maggi provides them. A moderate holy racket on ´Hordes´, a spectral loop on ‘Meshes, Ashes’, a lofty cathedral inside which it is pouring rain called ‘The Tumult’.
The album concludes with three ominously named tracks – ‘Slavery’, ‘Witches’ and ‘Chains’ – which seek to permanently loose the bonds of mortality. ‘Slavery’ drums an intimate, fervent chant that reaches down to the soles of the feet as a ravishing eddy of strings sweeps the spirit upward. The song of the ‘Witches’ is startlingly exalted and optimistic, while ‘Chains’ is a synagogue of full of cantors attempting to sing its way out of the abyss.
Like that cover photograph, the music Maggi has created for Ghost Love has sepia tone that lends it an imposing patina, another time now fixed in this one. Even the rhythms sound like they were made in another time and have been trapped in swamp gas and conch shells until now. A fourth world music as envisioned by cargo cult, made of tanned skins and earth and crates that fell from the sky." CYCLIC DEFROST
"A well appropriated musical and textural contrast can be an incredibly satisfying thing to hear. That way of combining ambient prettiness with noise and fuzz chosen by the likes of Fennesz and Belong for instance, or Barn Owl’s dusty twilight stasis atop a bed of doomed grunt. The feeling of having your brain pulled in several directions at once or in a jarring or disorientating sequence, being forced to feel conflicting bodily and mental reactions as the material unfolds, can distinguish an interesting, multi-layered album from its counterparts.
What we have with Phil Maggi’s ‘Ghost Love’ is a set of tracks that visits various outposts of experimental music and wraps them up into something that shimmers with droning organic ambience on one hand; on the other it guides the listener through a quasi-ritualistic experience set out through primitive percussive or mechanical rhythms, captured ethnic vocal loops and even some Leyland Kirby-esque ‘hauntology’ (most obviously on the closing track) to push the unsettling atmosphere and support the record’s title.
And unsettling really is the word for the majority of this album. Tracks like ‘Hordes’ and ‘Meshes, Ashes’ seem to possess a sense of dread, steeped in weird history and darkly enchanting like uncovered sonic relics of a long abandoned time in a distant place. This seems to overlap into something more exotic as the ever changing locational character of other tracks aim to place us, briefly, in one of a variety of surreal climates. And again, the exoticism then overlaps with the aforementioned ambience that makes up a large part of the album’s lighter side, more in tune with the kind of delicate ambience you might expect from one of the wide selection of artist operating under the swollen ambient / drone umbrella. Though these tracks contrast notably with the otherness (Andrew Liles mastered this, which makes a strange kind of sense) they make for an album overview which is unpredictable, intriguing and fairly unique in it’s ability to smartly combine the ambient with the avant-garde. ‘Slavery’ is perhaps the finest example of this – a simple, Ous Mal sounding ostinato backed with layers of vocals and slapped drums that continues for six decidedly beautiful minutes.
And that, in a nutshell, is I think how this album succeeds. On paper it could easily be expected to form a bit of a mess, contrasting ideas not working together but cancelling each other out and weakening the overall work. It is not so. ‘Ghost Love’ bravely attempts to meld these and the result is an album full of artifacts to pick through, get lost in and emerge satisfied despite being none the wiser about what the last forty two minutes mean and why the sounds have been married as they have… the lack of resolution one might feel at perhaps never knowing this only adds to its mystifying personality." FLUID RADIO
- Blood and Heart Weavings
- This Stabbing Silence
- Meshes, Ashes
- The Tumult