ON: Your Naked Ghost Comes Back At Night (Type Recordings)


Posted on Jul 20th 2009 12:41 am

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On: Your Naked Ghost Comes Back At Night

Your Naked Ghost Comes Back At Night
Type Recordings 2009
07 Tracks. 63mins26secs

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On is a project like no other. The brainchild of French composer Sylvain Chauveau and American percussionist Steven Hess, best known as one third of Chicago-based electro-acoustic outfit Haptic, On started six years ago when the pair met and recorded a session together, with Chauveau on prepared guitars and Hess on percussions. The recordings were then put in the hands of Norwegian ambient artist Helge Sten, who was then officiating as Deathprod and is, still, amongst others, a member of experimental jazz outfit Supersilent, and French composer Pierre-Yves Macé who each worked on a number of tracks, modelling them to their own sound world. The Sten tracks were collected on Your Naked Ghost Comes Back At Night and originally released in 2004 on Les Disques Du Soleil Et De L’Acier, and the ones processed by Macé were released on the album Second Souffle on Brocoli in 2007. Five years on from its original release, Type Recordings are now reissuing the Helge Sten collaboration.

Those familiar with Deathprod will instantly recognise Helge Sten’s dense atmospheric structures and minimal and haunting soundscapes. It is, indeed, his presence which is felt the most on this record, as he manipulates Chauveau’s guitar textures into vast sonic plains and retains very few recognisable traces of the original sound sources. Hess’s percussions are even more treated and only seem to appear as occasional seismic pulses, sending shockwaves deep within the sound formations, or as distant textural touches. Album opener Your Naked Ghost Comes Back At Night And Flies Around My Bed is based on a slowly evolving warm and opaque drone upon which are added a few brushes of distortions stretched to the point where they become extremely polished and sleek. Erotique, which follows, opens with the distant rumble of percussions, but darker forms soon roll in and give this piece a stark desolate feel at the opposite end of the scale of what its title suggests.

Later on, on Facade, Sten uses metallic percussions as main element, progressively drawing them out into a much more compact and dense cloud of noise over the twelve minutes of the piece, while retaining the rich hue of the original component. Elsewhere, In The Forest Of The Night appears as dense but it is sign-posted with regular pulses which, while never dragging the piece out of its original torpor, brighten up its path. Too Many Demons Still Haunt This Land and The Lonesome Poetry Of Mark Rothko, which closes this album, are much darker and incredibly vast, as persistent winds blow upon barren landscapes and swallow the most vivid sonic details which attempt to arise, leaving these two pieces in a permanent state of darkness. The latter especially, stretching over seventeen and a half minutes, is an incredibly haunting moment, which, after over twelve minutes of deep-space like noises, begins to open up to a more peaceful and almost melodic sound form.

With Helge Sten applying his touch and aesthetic to the original pieces recorded by Sylvain Chauveau and Steven Hess, it is totally impossible to even envisage what these may have sounded. And while the sound sources were created by the pair, ultimately, this album sounds like the work of Sten. This however never hinders its impact in any way, the resulting compositions working extremely well together to create an intense and moody journey through some of the most stunning atmospheric soundscapes heard since SAWII.


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Comments (2)

2 Responses to “ON: Your Naked Ghost Comes Back At Night (Type Recordings)”

  1. mapsadaisicalon 20 Jul 2009 at 10:38 am

    Agreed – it is THAT good!

  2. […] as Susanna And The Magical Orchestra, Motorpsycho, Arve Henriksen or Nils Petter Molvær. On Your Naked Ghost Comes Back At Night, Sten processed the duo’s original recordings into chilling atmospheric soundscapes close to […]