CD, Faraway Press, 2007
“Ghosts on Water” is a collaboration between Daisuke, Naoko Suzuki and Andrew Chalk. The three have worked together in the past and released a limited edition CD-R in 2005, entitled “Senshu”, that was limited to a mere 100 copies. This EP consists of 4 tracks and “Ghosts on Water” is a very fitting name, summarizing very well the feeling this disc brings about.
The first thing I noticed several seconds into the first track was the fact that this EP is quite a departure from what I’ve come to expect from Mr. Chalk (either his recent solo releases or as a member of Mirror).The music is still pretty, the drones are still there, it’s just there’s something all together else going on in addition to it all. The first track starts with some gentle noises that after several listens I think are processed human voices, but I’m not entirely certain. Gentle strums on what I think is a combination of piano and bass guitar float along among the background noises that become almost a sort of blowing wind that’s whispering something indecipherable to you.
The next two tracks revolve around human voices (more likely the ghosts themselves making themselves known). The second track has what seems to be one voice with bass-oriented drones in the background while the third revolves around two voices. The closest thing I’ve heard to the droning voices in these songs is a piece by La Monte Young that was nothing but droning vocals. However, the Young piece (which the title of escaped me) seemed bland and soulless to my ears while both these pieces convey a sense of a haunting presence. The third one especially, with the dual voices being the more ominous of the two.
The next piece brings simple, yet elegant piano playing over the top of quiet drones that is equally as pleasant. Although the track slows down and ends completely, it blends into the fifth and last track, the pianos and drones resuming with gentle, seemingly calm sounds that I assume are the voices from earlier returning for an encore.
In the end, “Ghosts on Water” is a very fruitful effort from all the contributors and something I think they should all be very proud of. If you’re a fan of any music in the “drone ambient” category I would say this disc is essential. Many people who work in similar fields fall into the trap of being too repetitious and don’t have near enough going on. “Ghosts on Water” is a unique approach and very refreshing for anyone looking for something new to listen to, highly recommended!
— Charlie Martineau