Release Date: Dec 5, 2014
Record label: Ghost Box
From Out Here is Jon Brooks’ fourth album as The Advisory Circle. This time out the expected analogue synths and home-built electronics mix with found-speech fragments from antique tape reels that might have seemed quite normal in their original context, but become unsettling when transplanted into Brooks’ concept (in which – apparently – “bucolic English scenery is being manipulated and maybe even artificially generated by bizarre multi-dimensional computer technology”). Brooks has done much to fix the reimagined library/ public information/radiophonic aesthetic as a genre.
Jon Brooks’ compositions as the Advisory Circle immaculately turn around one another, irrespective of the varying moods that beset him during recording. He moves from the outdoorsy pine of his 2011 record As the Crow Flies to the more inward facing From Out Here, carefully trailing links to make it sound recognizably him. It’s there in the perfectly interlaced synth lines, the air of Cold War nostalgia, the overriding sense that utopian thought has become a past construct.
And so the Ghost Box project continues. The fourth album from label stalwarts The Advisory Circle (aka Jon Brooks) comes lovingly packaged in a sleeve depicting various dead technologies and children trapped inside some experiment where it's always 1974, while the music inside evokes both the innocence and uncanniness of a recent yet seemingly distant past. I've previously used the term "alternative nostalgia" to describe this retro futuristic longing, but I don't think that's entirely accurate in the case of The Advisory Circle – "nostalgia" suggests a passive acquiescence to time's arrow, whereas Brooks seems more interested in taking the hidden forks in the road missed when the route was first travelled.