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God Is An Astronaut – Ghost Tapes # 10

God Is An Astronaut
Ghost Tapes # 10
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 10 February 2021, 2:46 AM

Reigning as one of the most well-known Experimental Instrumental groups out there with a respected musical legacy spanning nearly 20 years, Irish four-piece GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT will reach a career benchmark upon the release of their 10th studio album, “Ghost Tapes #10.” Founded by Niels and Torsten Kinsella in 2002, every piece of music the band has breathed life into since then has offered an intense sonic soundscape, leading the listener through an ethereal and emotional post rock dive into infinite atmospheres. “Ghost Tapes #10” rekindles the band’s classic line up with Jamie Dean once again on piano and guitar duties, and rather than pick up where the quartet left off in 2018, explores a radically different approach, with the focus fixed on movement and intensity. The album contains seven tracks.

“Adrift” leads off the album. It opens with some intensity and haste, with a mesmerizing rhythm. The bass guitar begins a dance above the dark rhythms of the guitars. It builds for a while, then the intensity is replaced by charming, alluring tones in the guitars. The intensity returns, but it stays with the secondary melody line. “Burial” begins with mostly bass and some light drumming. The clean guitar and piano lines that follow are pretty, with just a hint of darkness. Distorted guitars come in with a bit of dissonance and fierceness. The ending sequence is sovereign.

“In Flux” features a slow lead-in of sounds. Heavy, dissonant guitars come in with a fury, while the bass and drums march in a rhythmic method. Bitter and vivid attacking sounds come from the guitars. “Spectres” is a shorter song, and opens with softer guitars and some melodies. But that ardent bite remains. Guitar strings bend, creating this discord in the song. “Fade” begins with a vehement undertaking in the guitars. The bass work is really what holds a lot of the album together. Niels thuds away in a captivating rhythm, while the guitars offer variance over top. Lloyd also throws in a hearty drum performance here as well.

“Barren Trees” is another shorter track. The combination of Niels’ bass work with the cinematic guitars is calm and soothing. But the darkness that I talked about earlier is still very much present. Towards the end, they bring a poignant sound to the table. “Luminous Waves” closes the album, at just under four-minutes in length. In contrast to the other tracks, it’s vast and expansive, with a charming melody line, more like their previous work. Cello notes from guest Jo Quall sooth your soul with their beauty, and there is a long fade-out to completion.

Intensity in movement is indeed what you will find on “Ghost Tape #10.” Being familiar with their work, this is a pretty different approach than what you have come to expect from the band. The beautiful and hearty soundscapes of songs such as “Gone in Bloom and Bough” are gone, replaced by blazing sparks of combustible material that embody friction and confrontation. Stripped down a bit, and perhaps a little back-to-the basics, it doesn’t have much in the way of those big emotional elements of previous albums, but it is still an excellent release.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 7
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Adrift
2. Burial
3. In Flux
4. Spectres
5. Fade
6. Barren Trees
7. Luminous Waves
Torsten Kinsella – Guitar, Piano/Synths
Niels Kinsella – Bass
Lloyd Hanney – Drums
Jamie Dean – Guitar, Piano
Record Label: Napalm Records


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Edited 01 February 2023

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