Thursday, April 29, 2010

Textura review of Love via Paper Planes

The Ghost of 29 Megacycles: Love Via Paper Planes
Sound & Fury Records

For some odd reason, I half-expected to hear a set of guitar-generated blaze when I put on Love Via Paper Planes by The Ghost of 29 Megacycles, a Perth, Australia-based trio featuring Karen de san Miguel, Matthew Aitken, and Gregory Taw. Maybe it had something to do with the stark blood-red photograph on the package or perhaps the My Bloody Valentine reference on the promo sheet. Regardless, the album's material is far closer in style to ambient dronescaping than shoegaze, as the group's debut full-length finds the trio serving up six long-form and miniature pieces in equally satisfying manner. The trio builds its sound using reverb-drenched layers of organs and guitars—drums and percussion conspicuously absent—and occasionally wraps a breathy vocal mass around it too.

For almost sixteen minutes, “The Cold Light of Silence” drapes de san Miguel's ethereal murmur over a beatific haze that turns even more church-like when the vocals drop out a dozen minutes in, leaving immense, cathedralesque chords to intone in their absence. In “Passing, Daydreams,” a shuddering and blurry mass quietly roars for eleven minutes, the chords of its melancholy song splintered into shards within the vortex. At the opposite end of the temporal spectrum, “Dusted” breathes shoegaze fire for a too-short three-minutes, while “True Love Will Find You in the End” catches one off-guard by ending the album with a shoegaze-&-country ballad (featuring near-buried vocals by producer Matt Rösner). Elsewhere, the stately title track and “We Are the New Romantics” ride blissed-out waves of crushing, guitar-based drift and distortion. A strong showing all around.

May 2010

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Ghost of 29 Megacycles last show (for awhile at least)

This is perhaps the last Perth show of The Ghost of 29 Megacycles as Greg, Karen and Matt. The band will exist in some shape or form but not in Perth. We are proud to play our last gig supporting the amazing Matt Rosner as he launches his limited edition cassette at Kulcha.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Love via Paper Planes review from Cyclic Defrost

The Ghost Of 29 Megacycles – Love Via Paper Planes (Sound & Fury)

The Ghost Of 29 Megacycles take their name from a book from 1986 by John G Fuller which explores the possibility of recording the faint voices of ghosts. There’s a good chance that, given guitars, synths and a 4-track recorder, those ghosts just might make music that sounds like Love Via Paper Planes.

It may just be coincidence, but the 6 tracks on this, the first album the band have released via a label rather than on their own, are ordered from longest to shortest. This is a nice tactic, not allowing fatigue to set in, but still giving space for a track like the 15 minute opener, ‘The Cold Light Of Silence’, space to work its magic. And with the ethereal nature of the sound, a sprawling, growing ambience, talk of ghostly voices and actual voices both washed out in the distance and whispering their wordless melodies in your ear, magic is certainly an apt word. The tracks are each based on extended drones but, unlike much first take improvisation which works with drones, The Ghosts Of 29 Megacycles work with harmonic structures. It takes well over 5 minutes, but when ‘The Cold Light’s initial two chord suspended cycle finally falls onto the root chord, the effect is monumental, almost physically tangible. Elsewhere, ‘We Are The New Romantics’ has huge, ringing distorted guitar chords mixed low and embedded into their own reverb trail but, again, the chordal progression sets it apart from run of the mill drone. In this case, it’s a dead ringer for part of the chord structure of U2’s ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’ and aims for (and achieves) the same level of grandeur, though, obviously, in a different sonic manner. Having said that, Eno-esque atmospheres abound across the album, if Eno were to embrace the lo-fi underground. Which is not to say this is particularly lo-fi, but it does away with the sparkle and sheen and replaces it with more muted timbres and also allows harmonic feedback loose in a way that a ‘proper’ producer might not allow, but is used in the title track particularly effectively.

All this may sound overly serious, but a small glimpse into process at the conclusion of ‘Dusted’ demonstrates the group’s humourous sense of themselves. Following two and a half minutes of typically languorous walls of sound, the decidedly non-ghostish voice of vocalist Karen de san Miguel can be heard to ask, “Hey, could you ask Greg, does he always play that quickly? Maybe a little slower would be better…Seems a little fast. Is that just me?” The fact that it’s been left on the finished work automatically renders it ironically amusing and adds a remarkable amount of human warmth to the cascadingly monumental music.

Love Via Paper Planes is a wonderfully immersive document. Rather than feeling like the progress sketches often associated with drone based work, these pieces are fully formed and, combined into an album, create a truly beautiful listening experience.

Adrian Elmer