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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ghostwriters - Objects In Mirrors Are Closer Than They Appear

Name: Ghostwriters
Album: Objects In Mirrors Are Closer Than They Appear
Year: 1981
Style: Electronic, Ambient
Similar Bands: Residents, Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, Kraftwerk
"One-Word" Review: minimal electro-ambien pop-sketches.
Based Out Of: Philadelphia, Pa
Label: Red Music
Objects In Mirrors Are Closer Than They Appear - Cover & Record
Objects In Mirrors Are Closer Than They Appear - Back & Record

Objects In Mirrors Are Closer Than They Appear (1981)
  1. Sleedermauseman/Reference to ROTA 6:30
  2. Emotional Momentum 3:31
  3. Swizzle 9:49 /
  4. Fix In The Mix 4:07
  5. Moon Chant 1:25
  6. Quark & Quarles 4:40
  7. On/Off 2:23
  8. Tarpit 6:52
Album Rating (1-10): 9.0

Members & Other Bands:
Gino Wong - Exec. Producer
Bill Mauchley - Mixer
Charles Cohen - Producer (Planet Y)
Jeff Cain - Producer

Unknown-ness: I’ve never heard of these guys. From the piano on its side and the duo’s clothing on the cover & back, they look like they are going to be some sort of Hall and Oates type act. I like the imagery on the cover, of only being able to see them in reverse through a mirror. The song titles are different from normal, standard radio pop titles, so perhaps they will stand apart from Hall & Oates.

Album Review: “Sleedermauseman/Reference to ROTA” is the first track from the album, and it is a watery, aquatic electro mix of deep, and resonating bell sounds, that reminds me of something between the Residents and Forbidden Zone. Perhaps with the repetitive, driving nature of Kraftwerk, added in too. It even harkens back to the devious spirit of the Spy Hunter theme. Around 3:45, the song changes, perhaps taking on the ROTA section of the song, and a piano element is introduced, putting a dead stop on the music’s momentum, and quieting the track down to single key strokes and a ominous hum. The tinkling becomes slightly more complicated, but it still creates an edge of your seat using minimal sound. The end of the track kills the momentum, or the song would be quite a stand out track. “Emotional Momentum” is next, with a tribal simple drum beat, (almost a heart beat), cricket noises and twittering of electronic effects. As if they are flying by your ears. The liquid bass effect is employed again, and the song slowly builds in complexity, but not in over use of any one effect. There are vocals added which are synthesized and turned around so much that the words are inaudible. “Swizzle” begins with an Atari “Break Out” sound effect repeating over and over while speeding up; which sounds fantastic. It is a little Close Encounters as well. A synthesized flute sound brings a mystical, ethereal feel to it too. After 2 minutes, it transfers into a delightful, pleasant call and response two melody synthesizer mix, while the break out bricks are still clanged with the ball in the background. This is a great mix of ambient sound and electronic toying. The dueling synthesizers are both tuned to have an Asian feel. “Swizzle” is quite an apt name for this track, as it fits perfectly in both the look and sound of the word. The background components of the song grow louder and slowly change and merge into one unified rhythmic beat. There is definitely some creative use of a theremin as well, adding to the catchiness and pop sense ability of the track. The song has each element detracted as the song completely slows down to a stop at the end.

“Fix In The Mix” features more of the darkness, Resident side of electro effects, rather than the happy “Swizzle.” It includes nervous vocals, part devo, all Residents-ish, which makes me question, could Cohen or Kain be one of the mysterious Residents? The industrial two beat electro bottom gives plenty of room for the odd sounds to play all over the place through out the song. These tracks are all really, really good, it is very hard to pick a favorite. And there are still four tracks left. So far, this is it, thanks to its length and consistency. “Moonchant” is a short minute and a half song that is very dark and quiet, and is basically a vocal enhanced chant, sounding a bit like Fad Gadget, with a barely present synth bass line. “Quark & Quarles” begins with a steady drum machine smack beat and some warbley liquid sounds. Now this is really my cup of tea as it is very evil carnivally in its Residents/Boingo presentation and noises that oscillate all over the sound spectrum. The noises get increasingly chaotic, but before it becomes annoying, they stop, and the song rebuilds itself through a slightly different beat. But the effects continue their watery, Star Wars robot language. Right as you think that the song is going to lose all musical consistency, they employ the carnival hook that the song begins with. “On/Off” is next, carrying on an echoey, distanced version of the last song, with a strong piano three note hook driving the song, as it goes down in octaves. It breaks down with a electro skat-like section, and regroups into the three-note section again. This is repeated, and the song finishes with a sped-up version of the three-note section, that goes a bit crazy, but stays in form. “Tarpit” ends this fantastic record, with minimal echoey effects, wind, and some sort of insect-like sounds. After a minute, “tarpit” bubbling sounds emerge, but not to any rhythm as of yet. They increase in numerousness and volume, while a clicking tempo is added. A synth keyboard effect is added, which mimics the careful stepping of someone who does not want to be found. The bubbling follows the stepping tempo and beat, and a reggae guitar melody is added. I really can’t believe that have actually created Ambient Reggae. They finally add what it sounds like prog to their mix, which I wouldn’t believe they;d been able to clock out of the record without bringing a bit of prog. The insect sound becomes louder in the end, and the song slinks out, as if it has passed you, not knowing you were there, and goes on with its own business around the corner. You are there left with the crickets.

Stand-Out Track: Quark & Quarles

Philly Punk


  1. Thanks, very interesting. Keep 'em coming!!

  2. more people need to convince charles cohen and color is luxury to record more...