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Neil Campbell with Micheal Beiert & Anne Taft - Ghost Stories

Ghost Stories

Neil Campbell
with Micheal Beiert & Anne Taft

NCCD006

Available soon from CD Baby.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker
(progdawg@hotmail.com).

Neil Campbell's intelligent fusion disc Particle Theory was reviewed earlier in FAME (here), but this is a complete departure from it, straying quite broadly into classicalist territory while slipping in a bit of neoclassicalism via light touches of electro-acoustics compliments of Michael Beiert acting somewhat like a greatly sedated version of Klaus Schulze in Stomu Yamash-ta's Go LPs. Beiert was recruited for tinges and atmospherics, keeping to the sketchily rendered nature of Ghost Stories. The release is actually a continuo on 2004's Night Sketches, and the mainstay of the half-hour lead cut, Ghost Story Suite, is either acoustic guitar recital atop Beiert's suggestive environs or six-string duets with soprano Anne Taft. The effect is that of dreary beauty, somnolent and age-ridden, harking back to antiquity and heightened Edwardian morés, silent and proper. Spanish touches invade the work variously, as in the ninth movement (each segment being no more than four minutes long).

Though Particle Theory was itself not often of the fiery camp so voluminous in fusion, Ghost Stories ratchets the vivacity factor way down, sedate, baroque, and hoary. Three songs follow in like manner, "Volk" being the most spirited…but still soothing. Campbell tracks himself several times here, wringing the most descriptive cut of the CD, with melody lines weaving about one another. For the entirety of the 10-movement feature opus, though, and two of the trio of accompanying works, Anne Taft contributes wordless melismatics.

If you're a fan of Particle Theory, and I certainly am, be warned that this isn't even vaguely in that zone, but if you're fond of new classicalist works setting heavily on the moody horizon, this is music to read Poe by…or Wuthering Heights…or The Scarlet Letter…but don't down a large mocha latté double creme espresso beforehand. You'll miss too much while running out of the house looking for jitterbug music.

Track List:

  • Ghost Story Suite
  • Ghost Tango
  • Volk
  • PSS

All songs written by Neil Campbell.

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Copyright 2008, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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