Belbury Poly : From an Ancient Star


13. Feb. 2009, 10:18

There was a scary article on Fact Magazine a few days ago asking if Ghost Box was heading for the mainstream based on the fact that Jim Jupp aka Belbury Poly was chatting and playing exclusive Ghost Box material on BBC Radio 1 and the new album has gotten rave reviews from Guardian (at the expense of getting their names written as Bellbury)

Ghost Box is one of the most cherished labels here at undomondo thanks to their nostalgic soundscapes and the hauntology inspired conceptualism which Juppe describes as “There is an element of nostalgia and attraction to the past but for us it really is the idea of trying to convey the feeling of things half-remembered from a fictional past or a parallel world.”

Like the Guild of Funerary Violinists or Xenis Emputae Travelling Band and all things British, they’re not just trying to build a record label but create an imaginary world in a parallel universe. That’s why a Ghost Box release has never been just about the music, but the gestalt of ideas, art and aesthetics; which is totally against the way the commercial/consumer society works.

Their selective roster and attention to detail leads to this sporadic tempo, which leaves us craving for more music, that’s what happened prior to the new Belbury Poly album as well, but after months of waiting, I’ve been listening to the Belbury album “From an Ancient Star” since a few days. I’m trying to like it and hype it to a great extent and declare it the best album of 2009 like we instantly did with “The Advisory Circle” release last year, but it’s not happening.

I can’t pinpoint what’s missing from “The Owl’s Map” perfection, but guesses would be the song placement; as the second half seems to work better than the first half and the few italo inspired electro tracks which sound a bit lackluster compared to their previous efforts. (From an Ancient Star & Remember Tomorrow). Minor issues yet this attention to them should signify our affection to Ghost Box.

Overall, it’s another beautiful Belbury Poly album, there are minor flaws against the standard they have set, but it’s still heads and shoulders above most of the music released these days. Also, don’t forget the download only sampler “Ritual and Education” which showcases previous material and which inspired the Guardian’s Alexis Petridis to write:

And so it proves. The music on both From an Ancient Star and Ritual and Education (a budget-priced downloadonly compilation that provides the perfect introduction to Ghost Box) conjures up what David Peace might call an occult history of 70s and early 80s children’s television, the soundtracks of stuff invariably forgotten in who-remembers-the-Wombles? roundups: the station idents of long-lost ITV franchises; Schools and Colleges programmes; the grimy, low-rent British horror films that provided a cheap way of filling time until the Epilogue and attracted an unintended prepubescent audience thanks to the rise in portable bedroom sets; the public information films that suggested a flatly terrifying broken Britain, filled with people who spent their time Fooling With Fireworks, playing Frisbee near power stations and jamming the bare wires of electrical equipment into sockets with matchsticks.

2 Sample tracks on