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Forrest Fang: Scenes from a Ghost Train (limited CD)

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Limited edition of 500

SKU: PRO00349. Category: , , , , , .

Tracks

1-4. Scenes from a Ghost Train
i. Five-Mile Crater
ii. Koch’s Veil
iii. A Meeting of Totems
iv. The Pulse of the Stars
5. Nocturnum
6. Freefall
7. Enfolding
8. The Great Migration
9. Waning Crescent

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Includes a download card in the package with your order.

January 18: John Diliberto of Echoes Radio asks in a tweet “Is Forrest Fang one of the most original ambient artists around? The answer is yes. Find out why when we hear from his new album, Scenes from a Ghost Train.”

Spanning sixteen solo albums over three decades, Forrest Fang’s electronic creations are a surrealist blend of processed ethnic instruments and minimalist, ambient soundscapes. He combines these elements “into a fusion that resists the stereotype of the term,” KQED’s Ned Raggett writes. “Fang’s work creates an enveloping flow of rich sound and understated experimentation. It doesn’t sound like one specific style, nor a mix of them all at once — but something distinctly his own.”

Exposé Magazine adds, “The shimmering textures are created via walls of processed acoustic sounds with synthesizers supporting, with or without percussion, and then often the melody instruments emerge out of this fog, first subtly and then boldly, carrying each piece forward. At certain points the textures may subside and expose the melodic content to a greater degree as a way of achieving a more powerful dynamic. Melodies within the mist tend to be minimalist and somewhat cyclical in nature, garnering a strong and evident emotional content that is at once fresh, pervasive and dreamlike, much like a weightless walk through an limitless garden.”

Fang’s latest Projekt release, Scenes from a Ghost Train, finds its inspiration in the phantom train of urban folklore that appears and disappears without a trace. “For me,” Fang reflects, “the ghost train is a projection of the human imagination that merges fantastical ideas, thoughts and mental images with the physical environment to create its own alternate space, much like I what try to realize in my own music.”

The album opens with a four-part eponymous suite. “Five-Mile Crater” begins with a percolating rhythm derived from the sound of a stalactite that is soon complemented by a celestial bed of warm choral tones and abstract sounds. The atmospheric “Koch’s Veil” follows, juxtaposing a contemplative piano with long, sustained string tones. The final two tracks of the suite, “A Meeting of Totems” and “The Pulse of the Stars”, reflect Fang’s distinctive and polyrhythmic ethno-ambient style and feature the woodwinds of Dave Newhouse of the well-known progressive band, The Muffins, as well as Fang’s expressive violin.
The mysterious resonating tones of “Nocturum” provide a brief ambient interlude before proceeding to “Freefall,” a gamelan-influenced piece featuring the processed sound of a Javanese metallophone, the saron. The peaceful and reflective drift of Fang’s ten-minute ambient piece “Enfolding” follows. The contemplative mood continues with “The Great Migration,” a piece of subtle power that builds gradually through layered and intertwined synthesizers, plucked strings and saron. The ghost train brings us back to earth with “Waning Crescent,” a vapor trail of electronic tones and the familiar sound of an electric piano.

The engulfing electronic elements and ethnic instruments paint a unique landscape for listeners to lose themselves in and explore. Scenes from a Ghost Train is a phantasmic world where thoughts and visions from interior and exterior worlds converge

Artwork by Marcel Caram, flickr page
Release Date: January 30 2018

Weight .3 lbs

Reviews

  1. Reviews Editor

    Review  –:

    From Sonic Immersion

    Until now, the electronic creations by most talented multi-instrumentalist Forrest Fang have proved a surrealist blend of processed ethnic instruments and minimalist, ambient soundscapes.

    Scenes from a Ghost Train finds its inspiration in the phantom train of urban folklore that appears and disappears without a trace. In the composer’s view, the ghost train is a projection of the human imagination that merges fantastical ideas, thoughts and mental images with the physical environment to create its own alternate space, much like Forrest tries to realize in his music.

    On this release he succeeded in doing that through a deep, warm and overall spacious canvas of cinematic yet dreamy sounds and rich textures. The album’s fascinating hybrid of influences from the West and East features many string instruments also while the outcome transforms to a more dynamic vehicle when assorted rhythms enter the stage as e.g. displayed on the last two chapters of the title piece.

    This said, distinct flavors of gamelan and Indonesia shine through as well more prominently or simmering in the background as the recording progresses. The largest part of the 20-minute “The Great Migration” is a minimalist soundscape ride pulling the listener in with its ethereal, slow evolving and hypnotic aural design. Then the dream settles down gently on the final track “Waning Crescent”, closing the circle of sophisticated reveries. Nice going Forrest. -Bert Strolenberg

  2. Reviews Editor

    Review  –:

    From Avant Music News

    Forrest Fang falls squarely into the camp of U.S.-based ambient/electronic musicians (also including Steve Roach, Robert Rich, and Michael Stearns among others) who were influenced by the Berlin school, but bring their own unique takes to the genre. Case in point, on the nine tracks of Scenes from a Ghost Train, Fang combines gently layered drones, slow-moving piano themes, and violin, as well as subtle Eastern string, wind, and percussive elements.

    Fang alternates between uptempo pieces driven by multi-tracked percussion and more introspective, minimalist approaches. But even in the latter, there is an abundance of individually-evolving themes. Fang’s restlessness shows throughout, as these quieter tracks are anything but simplistic. But he shines the brightest when combining his influences into an amalgam of atmosphere, melody, and ethnic mysticism. Ultimately, the acoustic and the electronic aspects of Scenes from a Ghost Train blend into a seamless continuum. This allows the album to have a broad appeal including to those interested in synth-driven music in general as well as others who seek out rich, detailed soundscapes.

    With the prevalence of dark ambient, aggressive electronics, and harsh noise walls (all of which have their own allure), it is nice to hear a new release from one of the originators of the genre that was a forbearer thereto. Established fans will find much to like here, and for others Scenes from a Ghost Train is a great place to begin exploration of Fang’s discography. -Mike

  3. Reviews Editor

    Review  –:

    John Diliberto of Echoes Radio asks in a tweet “Is Forrest Fang one of the most original ambient artists around? The answer is yes. Find out why when we hear from his new album, Scenes from a Ghost Train.”

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