CHOICE CUT – Blue Fields ‘Ghost Story’


Blue Fields / Ghost Story


Haunt Music / Released February 2012

There aren’t too many examples wherein ethereality, jazz, ambient and house are thrown into a melting pot, and the resulting home brew is this easy on the ears. As such it’s safe to say any lists of Electronica Albums of 2012 now have a first entry.

Despite the worst connotations extreme cynicism could conjure after reading that list of potentially pretentious, often style over substance genres, with Ghost Story Blue Fields have created something musically equal to the sum of the outfit’s parts. That’s quite an achievement when you’re talking about Mike Shannon, boss of Cynosure Recordings and revered leftfield producer in his own right, classical guitarist turned John Tejada collaborator Takeshi Nishimoto, and Fadila- a German-Turkish vocalist who can lay claim to appearances on Wagon Repair (alongside Shannon) and Cynosure.

But achieve it they do, creating a rich tapestry of styles that’s the definition of experimental, but stops well short of becoming obtuse. We seamlessly drift in between the smoke filled bars of Best Served Cold- a tune seemingly plucked from the soundtrack of some imagined French New Wave movie, all unpredictable  piano arrangements intermixed with descending double bass notes- and the Moodymann-meets-slow-mo-Laurent Garnier style Carmen’s Ghost.

There’s so much more accessibility when compared with many similar outfits, and no less credibility. That said it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly where correlations can be drawn. Because each track here may not be individually unique (New Shade of Blue, for example, owes so much to Portishead, while The Hive recalls Swayzak’s vocal work), but when seen as a body of music Ghost Story is really quite different.

Immediately after said excursion into trip hop we’re treated to part 80s thriller score (read- twinkling analogue keys) and part Balearic, meditative new age business with Seven x Seven, its classic guitar chords and gently shuffling baritones leading perfectly into clean-sounding four fours. A clear example of why this is an album filled with diversity that’s reminiscent of no more than a handful of recent releases, and even those are only really relevant in the discussion thanks to sharing a basic concept (the fusing disparate genres), not because they are particularly similar. Blue Fields’ convergence of techier tones and more natural, live instrumentations is no easy balancing act, but with deft execution potential catastrophe has become an anomaly worthy of our opening paragraph.