Ghost Harmonic are a trio of John Foxx, Maths partner Benge and violinist Diana Yukawa. Recorded at Benge's studio in Shoreditch over the last couple of years, 'Codex' is the first fruits of a collaboration that sits squarely in a minimalistic, almost classical sound world.
Although there is clearly all sorts of clever synth and electronic work going on here, the unmistakable sound of Yukawa's violin is what takes centre stage here, a beautiful, calming tonality that retains its distinictive resonance in spite of the tinkering by Foxx and Benge. That clash between the organic texturality of the violin and the synth swells and tones that augment it is reminiscent of some of the most poignant live soundscape work of Robert Fripp, where the King Crimson founder would play live guitar through his bank of Frippertronic modules to usher forth a sound that had little connection to his guitar at all.
'Codex' is a beautiful set of five compositions, but these pieces work best when the synth work is largely kept to a minimum - a comment that is jarringly sacrilegious when this is clearly a John Foxx project. At times the pads, drones and electronic string sounds work to distract you from the core passages played by Yukawa, bringing queasy dissonance and unnecessary prominence to the fore. For this writer, a better album could have been produced if the electronics were used as more subtle embellishments to electronically-treated violin, rather than - as seems to be the case at times here - an attempt to create classical structures using electronic technology.
On the whole, though, this is a wonderfully absorbing album with moments that are both serene and harrowing. It has a tone and vision not dissimilar to some of Brian Eno's most evocative ambient work (the stately 'Shutov Assembly' springs to mind), while also remaining firmly rooted in the under-explored territory that exists between modern classical music and electronics.
A Green Thought In A Green Shade / The Pleasure Of Ruins / Dispersed Memory / When We Came To This Shore / Codex
'COdex' was released on May 28th 2015 as a limited-edition (1000 copies) CD.
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