Ghosting Season - The Very Last of the Saints
Ghosting Season are Gavin Miller and Thomas Ragsdale, a Manchester based electronic music duo, and The Very Last of the Saints is their debut album under this name, although they did release an album a couple of years ago as worriedaboutsatan. Whereas worriedaboutsatan sat somewhere between ambient music and instrumental post-rock such as Mogwai, Ghosting Season lends itself more towards steady beats and electronic dance music. However, there are only subtle differences between each act and this album actually seems to bring both projects together, and instead of coming across as a debut album this could easily be seen as a follow-up to worriedaboutsatan's debut Arrivals. Having said that, it is released on DJ Sasha's Last Night on Earth label.
It starts quietly, and for the first 20 seconds of opening track 'Ghost/ Drift' it seems like there is nothing there. Then it builds into some spooky ambience with fairly gentle yet pulsing up-tempo beats. 'Far End of the Graveyard' keeps up the pace whilst hinting at the glitch influence. The underscore is pretty sinister and suggests a darkness and eeriness recalling the likes of Burial and maybe even Salem, and is one of the real highlights.
'A Muffled Sound of Voices' is another creepy yet urgent tune, crackling ambience over a single repeated note at the start giving it an anxious feel. 'Follow your Eyes' is the first tune to feature a vocal which drifts around a cyclical rhythm and a haunting string sample. The male voice is Gregory Hoepffner who is unknown to me, but he delivers an edgy, frail performance that suits the mood perfectly.
The ten minute 'Lie/ Through Your Teeth' builds up from a very quiet start, and works in some the atmospheric string loops and spoken word of people talking about their dreams. Halfway through subtle but steady beats emerge, hinting at minimalist techno.
'Lost at Sea' is pure ambience, like an edgy Eno, and 'Time Without Question' is more minimal yet up-tempo beats, as is the vibrant, pulsing 'Pio'. '13' closes the album and starts with a pretty guitar part then goes into a whispered, telephonic female vocal with some glitchiness working its way in. Despite that it is still quite a dreamy end to the album, which actually
The first time I heard The Very Last of the Saints I was ready to bracket it with the likes of Seefeel although further listening reveals a whole host of influences. It is not simply EDM, ambient music or post-rock. Instead it manages to combine these really well. It hints at the dancefloor yet it remains eerie and dark in places, and its fondness for straight forward 4/4 rhythms make it more lively than other ambient electronica efforts. That it manages to pull these together and work as a whole is impressive in itself.