Donor Lens - Desire Path
May 6, 2022
Ghost Signs begin by enveloping the listener in a heady, sinister note. Airy in its form, it almost feels as though David Lynch has sent us stumbling into a shady corner of Twin Peaks. It may be an insight into the artist’s home of Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland. Wherever it may be, it’s safe to say an atmospheric, if not bleak feeling is produced. A glassy reverberation begins sidling around the central tone, reappearing at either end of the stereo field at random instances and junctures. The more focal notes grow, pushing against the mix with a thin distortion. Within a minute, we are submerged by this striking sense of dread and isolation. The songs title We Haunt These Cities Like A Half Remembered Dream certainly supports the listener in these feelings. It is almost as if we’re listening to the sound a back alley makes when no one is around. These reverberating tones feel like they emanate from somewhere supernatural, though not visible to the naked eye. The low notes go through a chord progression so deep it’s almost hard to make it out. Wavering high pads peel off over the top of them as the glassy reverberation continues to warble in the middle frequencies. Ghost Signs interjects with a delayed cymbal, each one only lasting a short time they stand proudly and explicitly in the mix as the only elements of percussion as the slow-moving notes continue to move and shift beneath. Muffled movement and voices, sound from somewhere way beyond our sonic reach and the centre of the mix falters slightly. The artist begins to tease with more unintelligible noise as the listener clambers onto what could be a voice or field recording in an attempt to find something of familiarity.
The Stars They Blind Us starts deeper still, with a hum that quickly blooms into a more fully formed group of notes. They lift to an ambivalent note, before descending to a note confirming the vague feeling of dread and desolation. The mellow tones within the instrumentation hum with a dormant power, like they are lingering just below the surface, gargantuan spirits sitting just beneath the realm of the mix. A chime sound begins to strike, cutting with high frequencies through the sludge-y underbelly. Unhindered by the rumbling bass of the track, the chimes streak across the sky of the stereo field before disappearing.
When We Lose Our Shadows brings us, like some troop of seraphim, out of the dark recesses of the tracks before. As we fly along with them, we see the dark and derelict city we experienced first-hand. The notes that Ghost Signs breathe into the track have more of a momentum behind them, like we can feel a cool breeze whippet against us as we fly. The mix even buffets and falters like its calling to us from over the horizon. There is no change in the solid methodology of droning ambient sound, but the change in tone and outlook is palpable. The low notes are now decadent and beautiful as oppose to sinister and frightening. The golden sky seems to open up in front of us as Ghost Signs caresses notes with elegant calculation and poise. Even the moments that bring light, minor notes into the torrent of sound are expertly performed. Eased in, rather than forced. The song begins to really glow toward the end as higher notes glide ever upward. We are lifted, newly cleansed from the darkness and sent floating into the light.
The Holy Ghost and Other Lost Souls begins in a dark and unnatural place. But Ghost Signs is able to pull the scope towards a more positive conclusion, all whilst keeping this heavily ambient style. The percussive affectations steady us as we are submerged in unending notes and rumbling bass. The EP is truly affecting.
Download/purchase on cassette here: https://ghostsigns.bandcamp.com/album/the-holy-ghost-and-other-lost-souls