Stray Ghost
Those Who Know Darkness See The Light


3.5
great

Review

by Jonny Hunter CONTRIBUTOR (105 Reviews)
October 20th, 2012 | 17 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Cherish it.

How we love to laugh at any modern-classical/ambient project that comes our way. Strings and piano, again? Hah! ‘You’ve got to be kidding me...’ It’s only when something really high-brow comes along that we withhold our almighty judgement: something that pushes itself so far from any recognisable trait that we’re forced to admit that yes, this is suitably new. See, in this little corner of the musical world emotional indulgence is often looked down upon; whereas if you were to take the trip over to folk, indie, rock and all things in between you might see that the opposite is the case. Perhaps it’s something to do with the often pretentious world of classical music, or maybe it’s more to do with the increasing number of pretentious people (such as your reviewer for this evening) who inhabit this world.

So in this plane of sugary sweet strings, it’s safe to say that we know darkness. We know the artists who admit to taking every possible measure to dive for the heartstrings time and time again without a thought towards the notion that music can be so much more than that. At the same time, it takes knowing this to truly appreciate the artists who don’t. And when artists like Stray Ghost appear it’s incredibly difficult to not prick up one's ears and listen, as Those Who Know Darkness See The Light.

Forced? Yes; but in the reflective haze this album shrouds us in it’s hard not to at least take the odd stab at intelligence. Stray Ghost has crafted music that personifies the very essence of reflection. Slow; looping; quiet: the piano will ring down with such soft force that you’re affected deeply without even realising how you came to be so moved. Meanwhile, the background plays host to a range of subtle effects that serve to give the piano that little bit of edge, whether it be sorrowful or fearful or simple calm and relaxation.

This is not your by-the-numbers wail of strings, then. There are no crescendos. But at the same time Those Who Know Darkness See The Light doesn’t put too much effort into venturing beyond the familiar. This isn’t to discredit the album -on the contrary, it’s remarkable that the album still manages to be so effective within these boundaries- instead, it’s the mixture of familiar indulgence and this finely-woven intelligence that makes the album what it is. Namely brilliant.

I guess this is all we can expect from an artist who’s taken the step over from drone ambient. This love of reservation and subtlety that really embodies that particular segment of music is something left clearly on display here, with pieces like ‘Music for Robert Walser’ progressing almost entirely around a low, ploding piano sequence. Likewise, ‘The Time Spent Chasing Lost Daylight’ is so powerful, not because of any frontal outburst, but from a quiet whimper: barely distinguishable.

So by it’s very nature, Those Who Know Darkness See The Light faces several challenges both in terms of the saturation of the genre and the growing cynicism of its followers. But Stray Ghost has more than demonstrated that he’s got what it takes to distinguish himself, he’s also brought with him an entirely personal and refreshing style. While reaching an almost blissful peace at times, a life-changing album this is not; yet I don’t think it’s trying to be. What the album is, is precious: something warm and calm that easily fills that little bit of ambient-space in all of us. Cherish it.



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user ratings (2)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
October 20th 2012


2719 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

First posted here: http://www.muzikdizcovery.com/2012/10/album-review-stray-ghost-those-who-
know.html
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stray-Ghost/112870782079657

It's been a hell of a shit week. The review count cheers me up to no end.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
October 20th 2012


31493 Comments


Not quite sure you could be any more pretentious with that first paragraph

Digging: Hyperdub - Hyperdub 10.4

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
October 20th 2012


2719 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Not quite sure if I care.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
October 20th 2012


31493 Comments


That'd be a first

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
October 20th 2012


2719 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Possibly a last.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
October 20th 2012


31493 Comments


There will always be a next time

mindleviticus
October 20th 2012


8326 Comments


Good review. I checked this out a few days ago, but it didn't interest me *shrugs*

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
October 20th 2012


2719 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Depends.

And thanks Jake. It's a shame though, I really came to like this album - although writing the review took a while longer than it should have.

mindleviticus
October 20th 2012


8326 Comments


Lol nice, Dev's right about the pretentiousness in that 1st paragraph; reading this was like drinking a 900$ coffee ;]

scissorlocked
October 20th 2012


3511 Comments


but it's the self-referentiality that makes the pretentiousness cool

anyway, nice review man!

Digging: Distance - Outer Limits

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
October 20th 2012


16114 Comments


liked reading, pos

Digging: H.P. Lovecraft - H.P. Lovecraft II

CaptainDooRight
October 20th 2012


30251 Comments


dam stranger ur prolly my fav reviewer at te moment

ur always doin it right

fucking Pos'd my good fella

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
October 20th 2012


2719 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeya!

"reading this was like drinking a 900$ coffee"

I think I'm pulling way too much out of that simile. Like, is it overpriced, fucking awesome, way too big (does it get cold towards the end?) I JUST DON'T KNOW111


AGuyIsWatchingYou
October 21st 2012


907 Comments


Not modern classical.

Not that anyone can get their shit together enough to pick a definition for modern classical (or a definition for classical music in the pop music era for that matter), but this isn't it. Ambient or drone? Sure, just not modern classical.

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
October 22nd 2012


2719 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Modern classical is what people now call it so call it modern classical I shall. It's a useful umbrella term in a "you get what I mean" kind of way.

StrayGhost
October 23rd 2012


1 Comments


Dear AGuyIsWatchingYou...

While I don't find any particular pleasure in having my music labelled, I personally feel much
closer to the "Modern Classical" label than I do to the "Drone" one....especially with this release.


I strongly disagree that I have created a "Drone" album here, there is a far greater emotional link
to composers such as Erik Satie then there is to someone such as Tony Conrad or La Monte Young.

If we're to take "Modern Classical" as meaning music which is contemporary but which references
music which we would call "classical", then I see no problem with the term.

I have to say that I'm with the reviewer on this one.

I don't know of many drone releases which contain melodic piano lines....piano note clusters or
single notes, perhaps....but I can't see how you could call this track in particular "Drone".

http://youtu.be/KZEX8osk7SI

This is not intended as a personal attack, I just wished to give my opinion; being the artist...I
thought it was relevant....perhaps it's not.

Thanks for the review, I'm grateful.


StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
October 23rd 2012


2719 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well I have to say that might be a first.



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