Marena Whitcher’s Shady Midnight Orchestra – Ghostology (2015)

Artist: Marena Whitcher’s Shady Midnight Orchestra
Title Of Album: Ghostology
Year Of Release: 2015
Label: Prolog Records
Genre: Jazz, Vocal Jazz, Singer-Songwriter
Quality: mp3 320 kbps
Total Time: 48:42 min
Total Size: 111 MB

01 – Ice Soldiers
02 – Lost in Time
03 – Last Chance for a Ghost Dance
04 – Interlude 1
05 – Strange Ocean Child
06 – Coniunctio Oppositorum
07 – Interlude 2
08 – Transformation Train
09 – Midnight Raven

Personnel:
Marena Whitcher – composition, lyrics, vocals, guitar, harp, glass harp, toys
Lisa Hasler – vocals
Isabelle Ritter – vocals
Nils Fischer – bass clarinet
Joscha Schraff – piano
Lukas Traxel – double bass
Nicolas Stocker – drums

Ghostology is chimerical, conceptually dense avant-pop – revolving around the science of the supernatural, of ghosts and spirits. It is the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and composer Marena Whitcher, whose compositions dazzle with sophistication and creative energy.

The album vacillates between two distinct styles and perspectives. There are songs of a theatrical and dramatic essence, who are devoted to the narration of ghost stories and are fabulously free-spirited. Last Chance for a Ghost Dance and Transformation Train in particular unleash a spate of inventiveness, with otherworldly images and sounds, unchained vocal performances and a unique amalgamation of genres – the songs seamlessly move from pop piano intros to spirited jazz solos, metal-esque grooves and mellow singer-songwirter sections.

On the other side of the spectrum are songs which show more restraint and assimilate more into pop conventions. These songs, like Lost in Time and Coniunctio Oppositorum however not only differ from the rest because of their moderation, but mainly because they offer a meta perspective on the album’s underlying themes of perspective and the feeling of being ‘in-between’. Whereas the more spirited songs contrast their imaginative arrangements with realistic, descriptive and illustrational lyrics – where Whitcher narrates a situation rather than being part of it – the singer-songwriter style songs contrast their simplicity with complex conceptual text.

This creates a curious discordance, which seems to be at the very core of this fascinating project. In Coniunctio Oppositorum, Whitcher reflects this juxtapositions by evoking imagery from M. C. Escher and Roger Penrose, whose impossible stairs symbolize the relativity of perspective. “I’m climbing these stairs, they are leading nowhere.” The focus of Ghostology on the supernatural, the ghostly thus becomes a reflection on what it means to be torn between two worlds, between life and death and to be torn an artist, trying to find one’s own voice. “I can’t decide for one extreme. Drifting in between.” Go buy this album and drift along, you won’t regret it.

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