Mabel Joy – Wish I Was. Album re-released.

Mabel Joy

 

 

 

 

 

Mabel Joy’s cult classic album Wish I Was sees a welcome return via Spanish label Hanky Panky.  Originally released in 1993, the band featured Geoff Smith, Matt Gale, Tom Anthony and Mark Brend (Ghostwriter) who subsequently went onto form Farina.  Shindig! says of the band ‘in a world where The Fleet Foxes and The Leisure Society have sizeable cult followings, maybe their time has come’.  For more information visit Hanky Panky.

 

Ghostwriter – The Continuing Adventures Of The Strange Sound Association

Stange Sound

 

 

 

 

 

Ghostwriter’s (Mark Brend) The Continuing Adventures Of The Strange Sound Association has finally been made available via digital download.  This was initially released on CD by Second Language in 2010 and was limited to 200 copies.  It sold-out within a few weeks.

Partially based upon archive voice recordings, fragmentary texts and ‘imagined works’ by literary figures eminent (Arthur Conan Doyle, John Steinbeck), cult (Colin Wilson, John Cowper Powys) and arcane (Arthur Machen, Ivor Gurney), The Continuing Adventures… weaves ethereal atmosphere, wistful song and playful soundscape from a battery of instruments and sound sources, including dulcitone, persephone, harpsichord, autoharp, toy piano, modular synthesizer, recorder, banjo, accordion, bass, drums, sampler, miscellaneous voices and something called the brendonium.

Divided into three distinct ‘Chapters’: Music For Men Of Letters, Music For Imagined Technologies and Music For Flotsam and Jetsam, these mysteriously beguiling compositions run the gamut from frisky, jazz-flavoured vignettes to garden shed electronica and contemplative sound collages via Wicker Man folk and bygone soundtrack esoterica.  Beyond easy categorisation, this is music informed as much by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and the British Sound Archive as it is various currents in leftfield pop, electronica, folk and plunderphonics.

Brend is assisted in his endeavours by a number of additional musicians and collaborators, including multi-instrumentalists Tim Conway and Matt Gale (Farina), singer Suzy Mangion (Piano Magic, George) and analogue synth collector Darren Hayman (Hefner), among several others.  Ghostwriter’s debut album is very much a product of Brend’s own unique imagination and compositional vision, however.

Buy the album here.

There are also a couple of previously unreleased tracks from the sessions available for free at Soundcloud.

 

 

Ghostwriter – Dimensions EP. Review in The Wire.

thewire

 

 

 

 

‘The solo project of Devon’s Mark Brend, Ghostwriter has an archaic/modern blend of elements that reminds me a bit of Paul Roland’s long-ago Gothic (not Goth) projects.  The EP is composed of a single track, broken into halves, documenting an imagined walk around London in the 1930′s.  Sparse keyboards and guitar, sound effects and theremin plus heavy atmosphere make for an odd, cinematic whole’.  Byron Coley, The Wire. 

Ghostwriter – Dimensions EP. Review with Is This Music?

Ghostwriter - DimensionsIs This Music? have recently posted the following review:

Variety is the spice of life, they say, and this 4-track EP from Devon-based songwriter Mark Brend aka Ghostwriter confirms that.
‘Autobiographical Sketch no 1’ itself mixes what the label’s press release calls “sonic collage”, alternating with spooky film music.  An under-2-minute instrumental, it doesn’t really give many clues as to what might follow.
‘Dimensions’ is divided into 2 chapters – the first piano mixed with what might be chatter from Radio Moscow, and a fine throwback to the kind of ambient and experimental music you might have experienced on late night radio in the 90s, especially when some theremin wibbles its way in.
‘Chapter 2’ goes all weird on us for a bit before settling into what could only loosely be described as a ‘groove’, again the indie sounds of 30 years ago recalled a little as the proto-electronica of Sheffield is interspersed with kind of Camberwell-style jazzy percussion.
Another short piece closes – ‘With stringed instruments a song’.  The first part of that description is right, but this is no vocal in the normal sense, instead someone enthusiastically attacking a sitar.  As such, it fits in perfectly.  In all, a strange set that somehow works.

Donald Bush/Is This Music?