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(73:56; Cuneiform Records)
Here we have the sixth studio album by French collective Ghost Rhythms, and the third of theirs which I have reviewed. It is their second release for Cuneiform, following on from the excellent ‘Live at Yoshiwara’, and the third studio release since 2015’s ‘Madeleine’. Band leaders, drummer Xavier Gelard and pianist Camille Petit have again taken control of much of the writing, although there are also contributions by other members. Due to lockdowns, they found themselves in a similar position to 2020 ‘Imaginary Mountains’ with everyone recording their parts at home, with the exception of the drums, piano and Wurlitzer tracks which were laid down in a proper studio. Given that the collective were used to rehearsing in person weekly, this was quite a change to their normal way of doing things, but the 11 musicians (and three guests) pull it together so that it never sounds as if it is anything but people playing together. There is clear direction with each of the songs, yet also plenty of room for individuality for the soloists, and although it can be quite avant-garde at times there is also the understanding that this has a framework which everyone understands. I did find myself being reminded of the great Art Zoyd at times, more than I have on the other releases I have heard, but that is a massively positive direction in my mind. One is never sure where the music is going to take us, and there is always plenty of space within the arrangements as they play with big band sounds at times, while reducing the structure to be minimalistic at others. As always with releases by Ghost Rhythms, it is always better to let the music flow multiple times as the more this is played the more the listener will get from it. For those who enjoy their fusion to be mixed with both experimental and Canterbury stylings.
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