It’s strange when it happens, but it’s always kind of comforting when a band’s name kind of perfectly describes their sound. Such is the case for electronic duo Warm Ghost on their full-length debut, Narrows. Layered with warm, fuzzy-around-the-edges beats and haunting, echoing synthesizers, the album envelopes the listener in its autumnal sound like a thick sweater, acting as both a source of heat and a constant reminder that just outside of its borders lies a cold, unforgiving world.
The artwork from which Warm Ghost take their name is highly indicative of the music that they make. The piece, Katharina Fritsch’s Geist und Blutlache, is both deeply unsettling and haunting simultaneously. Whether one’s theory of art rests on subjective interpretation or objective form, it seems difficult to deny the unnerving scene set in the work.
Had I started a band a few years ago, with the benefit of hindsight Wolf Ghost (or Ghost Bear, or some variation on the above) would have been the perfect name (using ‘perfect’ in the sense of most appropriate, rather than ideal). In his latest book, Simon Reynolds argues that the plethora of bands with ‘memory’ or ‘cassette’ in their moniker (Memory Cassettes, snake eyes!) is telling us something about the deadening ‘retromania’ that grips popular culture today (and, as many have noted by now, in doing so he revives the model of the original good ol’ days — when music was original). But some might see ‘The Deadening’ more in the light of revenance and reverence.