DIGITAL HORIZONS: Ghost Station (2018)
“I had one heck of a good time discovering this Ghost Station! Good beats, great ambiences and a vision that suits very well that of those abandoned old railway stations”
1 Decaying Platforms 6:08 2 Ghost Station 11:41 3 Croix-Rouge (Paris) 6:24 4 Gaudi (Barcelona) 6:43 5 Valkyrie (Oslo) 7:33 6 Dachnoye (St.Petersberg) 15:10 7 183rd Street (New York) 9:26 8 Eureka (San Francisco) 9:59 Digital Horizons Music
(DDL 73:07) (V.F.) (Theme music, E-Rock and England School)
Digital Horizons is a new name for me in the field of contemporary Electronic Rock style, or still the Berlin School and its sub-genres. Like here, where the flavor of rock incubated in Jean-Michel Jarre's influences and of England School are compatible. New name for me, but not on the scene of English EM, Digital Horizons germinated in Justin Ludford's mind after having discovered the music of Tangerine Dream, and having bought a Casio keyboard at the end of the 80's. And little by little, he made albums in cassettes 4 tracks, and of CD-r with A Face in the Crowd in 2002. And then in CD with Consequence in 2010. We can also find his music on Spotify and on Apple Music, as well as some of his albums via CD Baby. Digital Horizons possesses also its Bandcamp page where I was able to find its last album, GHOST STATION.
Ringings of big ghost bells as well as souvenirs of diverse noises surrounding a train station which has stopped to exist are filling the introduction of Decaying Platforms. Blades of synth are floating, and others are falling like curtains of tears. The music and the effects deployed in this opening is as much rich as very enigmatic, even mysterious. These ambiences' effects keep silent when a big bell makes its ringing resound in a more perceptible way at the third minute's point. Some very juicy sequences skip then, annexing their resonances with the sounds of the bell tower. This fascinating union awakens many pulsations which run like hundreds of small pulsating steps, and a little fewer of jingles, in a motionless structure where fall synth layers with abrasive colors. Isolated, the sequences sculpt an embryonic melody which drowns itself below an avalanche of synth layers and of bells' ringings which now melt themselves in the décor of the synths. Lot of tones in so few times! Layers with thin lines of spectral voices and sequences filled of white noises metamorphose a melodious approach whereas the ambiences always flirt with this little spectral side of GHOST STATION. Many movements, lot of changing ambiences, changes of rhythmic orientation in the same track and nostalgic perfumes beneath a spectral form; you have here the main elements which structure the ambiences, the harmonies and the rhythms of this last opus of Digital Horizons which draws its inspiration from abandoned train stations worldwide. The atmospheres are developed well in this sense, as well as the rhythmic elements of the album, while the harmonious side is defended by compact mists and their hidden voices which sometimes team-up with the melodic sequences. What a nice cocktail for an album which turns out to be a nice discovery! The title-track follows with a structure as animated as the running of a train through electronic landscapes. Perfumes of Kraftwerk can rise up to our ears, but the music doesn't flirt for one ounce with the Düsseldorf School style, aiming rather at the rhythmic and harmonious efficiency of the England School. Let's say that it's after having heard Ghost Station that the click was made.
Especially that Croix-Rouge (Paris) is rather delicious with its introduction decorated with lugubrious and resonant layers which have a hint of accordion in the tone. The rhythm doesn't make us wait with a series of repetitive knockings, one would say a race with two uneven legs, where the sequencer drops some very fat keys. This structure of sequences is more harmonious and drives us to a feminine choir which throws a cloudy film aura to these ambiences which wrap up a rhythm interrupted by ambiospherical phases with variable intensity but not as much as the one of the rhythm which breaks through with solid percussions towards the finale of Croix-Rouge (Paris). Very good! Gaudi (Barcelona) proposes a more stellar structure with diverse ringings of sequences in crystal clear and glass tones. The echoes of the ringing sculpt a choreographic arabesque full of graceful movements which resound on a swarm of muted and pulsating sequences, a little in the genre of Decaying Platforms. Cosmic synth layers are covering here and there, especially in its 2nd part, this wonderful ballet of carillons of which the tinkling never stop to amaze my ears. This is a great track which became entrenched behind my eardrums. After many clouds of mists and flutes Valkyrie (Oslo) starts up with the pace of a metronome which scatter its amplified motorik knockings such as a one-legged person skipping between two universes. Two universes, as two strata of banged noises and of electronic effects, where a compact and an opaque fog, of which the beauty is stigmatized by these breaths of flutes and the dreamy notes of a piano, which fills our ears of charms by the means of irresistibly attractive sonic accomplices. Dachnoye (St.Petersberg) is a long more experimental title which contains nevertheless two very beautiful structures of rhythms in a universe of Free-Jazz. The sonic panorama asks for a little more love and attention if we want to take advantage completely of its evolution. 183rd Street (New York) proposes an introduction full of these mists which hum in the universe of GHOST STATION before reaching a phase of rhythm. A kind of mid-tempo broken by places and of which the intensity couples with these layers of mists where are hiding voices. At times, this beat could of charm some zombies marinated in THC. Eureka (San Francisco) ends this very good album from Digital Horizons with glass tone sequences singing in an ambience that give shivers. Its evolution is a little like a more than once coitus interruptus before it unblocked in a pretty solid final where the intensity espouses an enthusiasm in this macabre chant, and nevertheless enchanter, of these sequences hammered as with a hammer on a crystal anvil.
I spent a great time to discover an album which distinguishes itself in this blazing universe of sounds and of their colors that is the one of synths and sequencers. The effects of mist here, and their layers of hidden voices, play constantly on the nuances, as rhythmic as melodic, of this GHOST STATION. I have to hear more of Digital Horizons for sure, but what I heard here is a strong kick off.
Sylvain Lupari (March 19th, 2018) *****
Available on Digital Horizons' Bandcamp