[sic] Magazine

Preghost – Ghost Story

Tokyo-based Kosuke Anamizu has been releasing music for several years now, most recently a couple of albums of ambient post-rock under the name Moshimoss . If these recordings owe a debt to the more delicate soundscapes of Sigur Rós , then Anamizu’s first release as Preghost perhaps takes the claustrophobic electro-dub of Burial as its template. But whereas Burial is often shrouded in oppressive darkness, Preghost lets in hazy light and space, and draws from a wider spectrum of sounds and moods.

Opener ‘Seeker’ sets the tone for the album as a whole in fine style. Lengthy drones, looped vocal snatches and reverberating guitars ebb and flow for a full four minutes before a rhythm eventually emerges. The inspired appearance of a saxophone gives the latter part of the track jazz overtones, creating the impression of a submerged and appropriately spectral version of the Portico Quartet .

Subsequent tracks stick to the formula for the most part, eerie drones and looped disembodied vocals forming the bedrock, with other instruments – echoing pianos, shimmering guitars, deep bass – gradually and skilfully being added to the mix before rhythms kick in to drive things along. Fans of the aforementioned artists, Wolfgang Voigt ‘s Gas project, The Sight Below and even Sabres of Paradise will likely find much to enjoy here. ‘Lostus’, appearing in both original and remixed form on the album, also brings to mind Cranes with its ‘little girl lost’ vocal. Whilst useful in terms of reference points, to speak only in terms of other artists would be a considerable disservice to Preghost, though.

‘Alter Ego’ features beautifully enveloping clouds of guitar and piano chords atop subterranean bass and a surround-sound rhythm that seems to radiate from the speakers. ‘Cliff Edge Ghosts’ follows suit, with gaseous drones and bursts of static creating an atmosphere of unease before a layer of distortion darkens the mood, only for it all to break with the appearance of an incongruous rhythm track of shuffling beats, clicks and handclaps. Initially jarring and unexpected, it makes sense when the drones and distorted chords slowly re-emerge on top. It shouldn’t work, but it does, and wonderfully so.

Whilst some tracks excel because of such juxtapositions, others rely on careful atmospheric sculpting. Here Anamizu is evidently a master of his craft, with sounds and ideas being given the space to breathe and grow. The closing ‘Departures’, for example, initially gives the impression of a tranquil ambient track built around loops of piano. After several minutes, more overlapping synth pads appear subtly, almost imperceptibly, and a propulsive beat begins to drive the track forward. Almost as soon as this section feels fully established, the track begins to draw slowly to a close with the rhythm gradually falling away to reveal multi-layered loops and drones, and a renewed sense of calm. It’s a captivating listen.

In his latest guise, Kosuke Anamizu has created a beautifully crafted and intriguing album. One might imagine that everything he has learned on his musical journey to date has culminated in this. Let’s hope that he decides to continue even further along this path because Ghost Story is one of the most imaginative and enjoyable albums of 2013.

Find out more

Preghost at n5MD