Some images just stick with you; images like ‘Geist und Blutlache’, a spare but spooky portrayal of a ghost staring at a pool of blood. Or is it simply a kid wearing a bone white sheet, standing over a crimson-splashed slab of concrete? Whatever the case may be, Paul Duncan was so captivated by Katharina Fritsch’s work that it helped inspire the name of his equally haunting avant-pop project, Warm Ghost.
“I was about 11 when I first saw that image in a book my art teacher gave me,” says the longtime singer/multi-instrumentalist (see also: a couple solo albums and collaborations with such varied artists as Oren Ambarchi and members of Grizzly Bear, Tortoise, and Bear In Heaven). “I thought it was so simple and beautiful.”
Duality is also one of the driving forces in Warm Ghost’s debut album, Narrows. On the surface, that means every pop element (the comet-like chords of “G.T.W.S.,” the climactic, synth-chased choruses of “Myths On Rotting Ships”) is offset by an experimental one – from flourishes of field recordings to splintered blocks of beats and samples that suggest a life of listening to Aphex Twin, Autechre and fringe icons like Fennesz, Cluster and Chris & Cosey.
“I made a note to myself before we started recording this LP,” adds Duncan. “It just said ‘automatic writing’. I really wanted the words and all the other content to feel organic, but with architecture and depth.” The voracious reader also explored the concept of duality and such uncomfortable yet universal topics as the human psyche through Narrows’ richly-woven lyrics. All of which makes perfect sense when you consider Duncan’s influences : such subconscious-skimming writers as Carl Jung, William Gibson, V.S. Ramachandran, Jorge Luis Borges…
“Humans are all changing from day to day, month to month…” he explains. “Constantly replacing and generating new cells. On the surface, it seems like we are, over time, distanced from whatever we think of as the self, but there are also these small channels, waterways that connect and pull us back towards larger bodies of neurological elements that make us up. That’s definitely a big part of what Narrows is about…and making a bit of wry humor out of the pretension.”
2. I Will Return
3. Once One
4. Myths On Rotting Ships
6. Inside And Out
8. Splay Of Road
9. An Absolute Light
Click Here To View Video Premiere of ‘Myths On Rotting Ships’ (NSFW) On Self-Titled Magazine
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