Review Summary: 'Soothe your mind'
Am I dead?
Lying flat with eyes tightly shut and arms outstretched, a slow but sure forward momentum settles itself on the young man’s face in the form of a thin veil of cool air. A faint gust of wind interrupts the ambience lingering in the placid blue sky, scattering clouds and the protagonist soars over gorgeous scenery, as if suspended by a thread from heaven. The white peaks of epic
mountain ranges flit straight past as daubs of white paint in his peripheral vision. The wind lightly brushes his cheek, lifts his hair upwards in careless flicks. Does the dream continue? Or does the reality take hold? Soon after, the young man awakens, and whether through being awoken from a stupor or landing himself on the lush greenery himself, he is alert and safe. Getting carefully to his feet, he observes his surroundings. A world away from the bustle of the cityscape many have spent their whole lives imprisoned in, the scenery is lush and green, littered with streams and vivid colour. A sky as blue as purest sapphire seems to shelter all that stands beneath it, it’s radiant hue bouncing off of the shimmering green of the meadows so far below. It’s almost as if the cityscape has been stripped away like a wine-skin, and underneath was revealed to be a thing as lustrous and grand as this. The wind begins to pick up again; a whistle of clarity amidst a world of ethereal beauty.
Now the world seems to hum with mischievous harmony. The trickle of water from a nearby stream causes low tremors underfoot, pulsating through the perfect blades of grass crunching quietly under the weight of the man. A gentle tune is carried on the breeze, simultaneously sombre and majestic, and the feminine qualities of the landscape seem to present themselves more obviously. A whirlwind of ideas; love, overcoming adversity, parental responsibility, kith and ki
n, flood the natural world, as though the sky itself had been submerged in a plethora of ideas as abundant as droplets in a tidal wave. A distant sea washing in and out of the shoreline is underscored by the low din of a beautiful female voice, the sea crashing against the smoothest rocks embedded in the sand, marking every point of contact with a deafening cymbal clatter, seeming to reverberate off the enormous cloud
above. The man listens, transfixed, addicted
to the sound. The voice seems to whisper, as if it were one with the wind itself, ‘Peace. We’re all alone…’ The nameless soul roaming the landscape is alone; a calm and poetic dreamscape only inhabited by him. The scenery seems to take on a new meaning. The sky feels oppressive, the trickle of water a condemnation. The whitest cloud in the sky feels like a harbinger of death, and misery. The wind blows again, this time crafting an intricate accord with nature. The ground seems to throb with emotion as the clouds part in the sky and a tremendous sense of elation fills the world. The world is free, the beauty is untouched.
A presence. A presence that lingers in the air now that the moon has come out. Moonlight slices into any surface it can find, a brilliant white against pitch. No one save the man stands in the beam, but he feels there’s someone else there. An entity walking between the divide of the living and the dead. In another realm, possibly, but definitely there. The idea of a ghost in a place as seemingly perfect as this- a spirit. An undercurrent of sadness, but also one of relief and ease, as the ground once again subtly vibrates like a drumskin. The ghost- an enigma to all men except the protagonist, who, in the moment of artistic lucidity as he stood in the bright beam of light from the sky, understood everything. The moonlight casts itself on a clear stream flowing through the white-lit meadow, babbling to itself contentedly. A congregation of frogs sat expectantly on dark lilly pads croak in choral unison, as though beckoning whoever will listen. Suddenly, they begin to hop from pad to pad, upstream, in perfect form. Ripples that form as the creatures land on the tiny floating platforms seem to create wave of sound that roll around the surrounding mountains in the form of thunderous, rolling melody. The amphibians disappear upstream, the noise of their chatter present even as the noise of their journey quietens.
The animals sensed something in the air, and sure enough, seconds later it begins to rain. The wind now lightly whistles and drops of water like tiny, shimmering deities fall from the heavens, which remain a calm ice blue. The man walks aimlessly through the assault, feeling his hair mat against his temples and around the tops of his ears. The shoots of moonlight are interrupted by the liquid bullets to such an extent they seem to converge into white missiles.
Devin Townsend challenges listeners with this poignant and wonderfully docile release. The simplicity of the beautiful music leaves a lot of interpretation up to the listener, but the universal feeling of the album is one of complete clarity, in an almost surreal otherworldly place. By the conclusion of the experience, I was convinced that my protagonist had become one with nature, but was this through enlightenment, or death (the album, after all, is titled Ghost
)? I don’t know, but it’s a satisfyingly mysterious ending nonetheless. A ‘Ghost’ – A spirit. A lingering presence that remains after the thing itself is gone. The atmosphere contained in a place after an event/ visitation. It’s not an album; it’s a deep, melancholic, stunning experience, that isn’t so much a genre deconstruction