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14 October 2014

Apalusa: Ghost Notes (Low Point)

Ghost Notes is the third album from Nottigham-based musician Dan Layton. It starts with a faint hum, like a radiator quietly sighing across a large room. Its five tracks build from there, but Ghost Notes lives up to its name in the sense that Layton seems keen on subtracting layers and capturing the essence of sound or its resonance without the immediacy of something to focus on or hold onto. But this shapelessness doesn’t define everything here; “A Million Billion Miles,” the longest track, builds and loops and swells into a rather grand cloud of sound, combining synth drones, guitars, and effects in a dense fog of obscured beauty. But my personal favorite is probably the opener. “Revoke”’s restrained minimalism makes it a stark highlight to me, slowly building on its initial murmur into a cloud of piano reverb and decay. “The Sherpherd”’s hushed opening of a dusty old-time record recalls the haunted vibes of Leland Kirby’s The Caretaker project, but it soon shifts focus into a fantastically hazy cloud of guitar waves, rippling slowly over time and recalling the most sublime shoegaze atmospheres of Labradford and Bowery Electric in their prime. It’s this combo of opening tracks that really makes Ghost Notes a success, with subtle but compelling maneuvers through alternately minimal and dense sound. The overall trajectory of the album is quite nice, starting small and eventually expanding into something expansive.

<a href=“http://lowpoint.bandcamp.com/album/ghost-notes” data-mce-href=“http://lowpoint.bandcamp.com/album/ghost-notes”>Ghost Notes by Apalusa</a>

Its final track, “It All Ends Here,” seems to combine the best of both worlds, starting with a drowsy drone that gradually shifts shape into something bigger, more lush, more elaborate. Even as this last track dissipates, it’s clearer than ever that Ghost Notes is indeed a perfect name for this collection of music, with its sound lingering almost like an inverted after-image rather than an immediate impression. And just as I start to make it out those images, it fades away fully, demanding another listen.

Buy it: Bandcamp

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