The music of Vienna based quartet GHOST CAPSULES is exactly as the band describe: ”Dark chocolate electro”… purer, slightly bitter and perhaps not necessarily to everyone’s tastes despite the quality of the ingredients; their sound however is a fascinating, rewarding listen.
Led by BOMB THE BASS mainman Tim Simenon, that ingredient of quality has seen him work with most famously DEPECHE MODE on their ‘Ultra’ album while also taking in artists as varied as NENEH CHERRY and JOHN FOXX.
Joined by drummer Roman Lugmayr, keyboardist Georg Lichtenauer and exquisite vocalist Laura Gomez, GHOST CAPSULES capture that element of intrigue found in so many Nordic electronic acts while counterpointing with an accessibility via some hypnotic beats and cool but catchy melodies. Spikey but extremely well produced as can be expected from Tim Simenon, their self titled debut album is percussively strong and electronically cinematic.
Launch single ‘Inside’ is a tremendous calling card with its mysteriously tuneful technopop but opening track and new single ‘Game Of Thrones’ actually manages to surpass it. Slightly darker but cut from the same cloth, it is danceable without being in your face. Windy synth throws and creepy shimmers add to the enjoyable unsettlement. Magnetic Fields’ takes the pace down slightly, the slightly detuned textures complimenting the deep drones and insistent rhythm. Laura Gomez’s seductive vocal is given room to breathe here. While there are echoes of Karin Dreijer Andersson and Jonna Lee, her raspy tones attain their own identity.
Electronic bubbling and a single note squelch drives ‘My Red Shoes’ along while the wonderful ‘This Castle Of Me’is looser with subtly chattering beats and even ‘Ultra’-like synth wobbles sidechained to sparring guitar. ‘Time & Matter’ throws in elements of THE KNIFE’s ‘Silent Shout’into the mix while ‘Morgan Le Fay’ attempts a more steadfast template epically punctuated by synthetic timpani.
Concluding with the gloomier experimentations of ‘I Am Dead’ and ‘Another Earth’, this pair meander perhaps a little bit too much and are possibly the least essential tracks on ‘Ghost Capsules’. Ken Hayakawa’s remix from the ‘Inside EP’, while slightly out of step with the sound of the album, might have made a more apt closer with its filmic vibe. But overall, this is an impressive first album that only runs out of steam towards the end. Despite Simenon’s busy schedule and many hats, it will hopefully not be the last from GHOST CAPSULES. There is much potential here for some more great music.
With special thanks to Daryl Bamonte
‘Ghost Capsules’ is released by O Solo Recordings on CD and download
GHOST CAPSULES 2013 German Tour includes:
Hamburg Mojo (31st May), Berlin Bi Nuu (1st June), Cologne Studio 67 (2nd June), Frankfurt Zoom (5th June), Munich Ampere (6th June), Stuttgart Zwölfzehn (7th June)
Text by Chi Ming Lai
13th April 2013