Ghostwriter – Dimensions EP

Ghostwriter - Dimensions EP

Ghostwriter – Dimensions EP

Having made such an impression with 2010’s esoteric – and now highly collectible – The Continuing Adventures Of The Strange Sound Association album for Second Language, the Devon-based Mark Brend has been biding his time in gestating a follow-up release for his Ghostwriter project.  Thankfully though, the wait has been worth it, even if this brief new 7” and download EP package will leave fans of The Continuing Adventures… somewhat agonised in wanting more from Ghostwriter’s wormhole between the antiquated and the innovative.

Yet the length of this EP suits a slightly more streamlined approach.  Whereas The Continuing Adventures… relied on its CD length duration to sprawlingly and unhurriedly unfurl its elaborate yet intimate arrangements of found sounds, unusual acoustic instrumentation, spoken word passages and analogue electronics, the Dimensions EP follows a less strung-out and divergent – yet still intricately crafted – path that fits snugly across two sides of vinyl and a bonus digital-only track.

Opening with the wheezing and twinkling brief strains of “Autobiographical Sketch No. 1,” Brend taps back into the rustic and eerie British film noire that peppered passages of the EP’s full-length prequel, as a subtle bridge into this new release’s more distinctive two-part title-track.  In its wake, “Dimensions – Chapter 1” unfurls a reflective piano piece which blurs into ensuing segments of burbling vintage electronics, snippets of disembodied radio-filtered voices, field recordings, snatches of polyrhythmic percussion and ecclesiastical organ.

On the flipside, “Dimensions – Chapter 2” unpeels itself initially with a meditative acoustic guitar interlude, which in turn bleeds into a beautifully balmy synth-led reimagining of the preceding track’s piano section that is briefly disturbed by the odd moment of discordance and free-from percussion, before closing with the distant murmuring of a church choir and flickers of piano and acoustic guitar.  The 7” closes with the brittle fragmentary “With Stringed Instruments, A Song” wherein distended Plinth-like acoustic instrumentation concludes the main proceedings on an oblique note.  For the bonus download track, “Bidding Bell,” Suzy Mangion (erstwhile George and Piano Magic chanteuse) returns to the Ghostwriter fold for an abstract fusion of ambient-jazz and bucolic choral ululations that ends in such rapturous ethereality that it’s hard not to wish that the physical part of this EP had been extended to a 10″ cut of vinyl to accommodate its serene magic.

Taken as a whole, the Dimensions EP packs in layers of enigmas whilst sustaining an enthralling overall moodscape.  Moreover, it proves that there’s still plenty of musical life left to explore in the seemingly infinite realms of English eccentricity.  More please, when you’re ready Mr. Brend…

Chaffinch Records