Time Travel







- Review by David Opdyke

Richard Bone

        Ghost ships sailing endlessly on vast, rolling seas have inspired these enchanting electronic apparitions by Richard Bone. The results are more beautifully mysterious than scary, though in most cases, darkness looms very nearby.

        I love a well-done "theme" project, and this definitely is. Each track is named after an historic phantom seacraft from maritime legends; the spectral ships were ghost vessels which would appear on the horizon at dusk or dawn. Dense patches of sound are embellished with the light tune from some haunted music-box, when brighter woodwinds blow in to fill the sails of the serpentine arcade. The track closes with a twice-repeated spoken word passage about the blessed in heaven looking down in delight at the justice of God being carried out in Hell. Radar blips announce the sighting of nocturna, which resides within a fog which gives way to lighter, more musical tones. Other sounds and activities are barely perceptible, like hazy memories. The fata morgana sways on deep, slowly oscillating currents reminiscent of a winter wind blowing through the cracks. Drawn out synth passages rise and fall as the honking geese fly by. palantine is definitely the most "ghostly" visitation, what with all those lost souls moaning eternally. There must be dozens of them... wailing over the delicate electronics and unintelligible radio voices that set the stage for a sorrowful piano. From some unidentifiable miasma, the waterton sails, accompanied by an electronic string section. Bass notes as deep as the sea interplay with skywardly sailing high notes. Swirling winds and stormy weather surround the voltiguer, as do enveloping layers of synthstrings. An electric ebb and flow rises above the clouds, letting in the sun and majestic horn sounds for this longest piece of 6:53. A rich, hazily thrumming bass is behind the wild hunt. Between the strings and light electronics, one can barely perceive sea sounds and clanking ocean bells in another lovely melding of the nautical and the ambient/electronic. The astrea blows in on a cold wind and inky black waves of sound. Though the mood rises from darkness to an icy beauty as the piece expands, that chill breeze permeates throughout. Distant rising/falling tones and a distorted voice point the way to the ephemera. Sparse piano notes are sprinkled upon the delicately shimmering airwaves in this short (4:18) track. The voice repeats the same phrase for the 4th time, and by the time I'm done thinking "Yeah, yeah, yeah... I've heard that before!", the track has vanished. If you'd like to bone up a bit more on Richard and his music, you've got options... Hypnos' own Bone site, or yet another Richard Bone website.

        The Spectral Ships is actually my introduction to Bone. And I must say, I'm impressed with this gorgeous phantom fleet which sails on modern electronics and neoclassical waves. One Enthusiastic Thumb Up!