Saturday, November 5, 2011

Ghosts of Dance - The Complete Ghosts of Dance CD (1996, Peppercorn)


Back in late June I posted Ghosts of Dance's lone 7" vinyl release here, and to my surprise their original drummer (Kevin Maynard) left a comment claiming the band had issued a CD release in the past collecting their recordings. Initially I assumed it would have been a limited to 30 copies, home-made CDR sent to a few friends that is sometimes the case in these circumstances since I had never seen or heard anything about it. Nope, turns out it was a professionally manufactured CD (even has a barcode) from 1996 on a UK label called Peppercorn (PCCD 003). The sound quality is very high as well, certainly not poor vinyl/tape transfers.... I'm assuming these recordings came direct from the masters.

The 1996 date struck me odd too because unlike nowadays when there are a handful of reissues out every month for obscure 80s minimal synth / coldwave / new wave / post-punk / goth / etc. bands, this certainly did not occur incredibly often throughout the 90s - especially with bands in minimal synth territory such as Ghosts of Dance. I began hitting the search engines trying to find information on this CD, locating 0 results... Luckily, Kevin made it possible for me to receive a copy of this CD in return that a review would be posted here. I do not know the entire story surrounding this release, though my obvious assumption is that it must have got very, very little distribution. Would be great if one of our favorite distros could pick up some copies to make it more widely available since I assume someone has some boxes of these collecting dust...

Ghosts of Dance were from the North Devon region in England, and took their name from the song "Ghosts" by Japan. Members included:

Mark Butcher: vocals and keyboards
Yvette Norris: vocals
Peter Heaton: lead guitar
Daryl Hunt: bass guitar
Kevin Maynard: drums

This CD contains ten tracks recorded in 1982, and five from 1983. Keven told me the band issued a cassette called "Finale", so not entirely sure if many/some/all/none of these tracks were initially included on that release. The two tracks from their '82 7" are featured here. Despite the short time-span between the recordings, some sharp contrast exists between the years where they practically sound like two separate bands. The '82 material has that great early 80s UK synth sound with a goth-girl vocalist... like discovering a bunch of unreleased recordings from some strange mystery band that only issued a single track off a limited/locally pressed compilation. I am certainly reminded a bit of bands like Hedone (UK), Cry of The Innocent's "The Haunting" 7", or maybe even if bands such as Coldreams and a gothier Poeme Electronique teamed up, Skating For Cover, N.A. Pop 2000, "Just A Friend" by Skeletal Family, minor Psychic Youth comparisons too... All the songs are synth-based containing sparse guitar/bass, live drums... (much like their 7") with many being quite dream/trance-like with some witchy / pagan / ghostly themes (or at least how I interpreted them). The only complaints I can muster up is that I initially felt like some of the songs sounded quite alike the first couple times I played the disc, and a few being a bit nonchalant meaning they could have been developed a bit further (hehe, though this normally isn't a complaint for collectors of this style of music).

The five tracks from '83 show the band moving into a better produced new romantic / synthpop direction with the keyboard player taking over the main vocals. Not sure what the story is for the change, or if the original singer left the band at some point (she does contribute backing vocals on one of these songs: "Inspiration"). Personally I prefer the earlier material, and these later tracks nowadays sound a bit more dated... though they are still quality songs that I can easily listen through without being annoyed or tempted to skip (I'm simply not a gigantic new romantic / synthpop fan). "Living With A Shadow" is my favorite from this period with it being somewhat melancholy and dramatic... the instrumental "Berlin" is a nice synth tune as well.

Overall a very good quality release and pleasant surprise from a band that often appears practically unheard even amongst 80s synth freaks. For now, I can only provide you with samples of the tracks that you can stream below (might not be visible with certain web browsers or under specific security settings). Hopefully, more information will follow on how to obtain the CD if interested. I'll keep you posted if I find out more details...

Preview the '82 period tracks from this CD here:



Preview the '83 period tracks from this CD here:



Ghosts of Dance - The Complete Ghosts of Dance CD (1996, Peppercorn)

01. Inspiration
02. Sunset Across Kyoto
03. Till I Wake
04. Calling
05. Living With A Shadow
06. Saigon
07. Compulsion
08. Walking Through Gardens
09. Berlin
10. Celebrate
11. Day Like I've Never Seen
12. Portrait of Eden
13. Images of You
14. Black Sheep
15. Ghosts of Dance

12 comments:

  1. How I could download this lp?

    Regards!!!
    Fernando.

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  2. Please do keep us updated - thank you!

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  3. His name is Daryl Hunt not Hunter

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  4. My mistake, fixed it. Thanks for catching.

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  5. We hope to allow you to upload tracks or buy a CD from this blog soon

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  6. Kevin (& sorrow-vomit),
    if that cd becomes available for purchase, it would really make a great xmas gift / looking forward to it :-)

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  7. If anyone is interested in purchasing a copy please e-mail me. k.maynard@btinternet.com

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  8. I own that 7'',I'm happy we can purchase the cd! it was a lovely band ;)

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  9. When u upload this greateful music?

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  10. or, when we can buy this cd?

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    Replies
    1. One of the band members has the CDs for sale now. Email k.maynard@btinternet.com for details.

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