I Am a Man With a St Tropez Tan - Just a Ghost - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

I Am a Man With a St Tropez Tan - Just a Ghost

by Amy Putman Rating:9 Release Date:2013-04-21

The term unusual is by its nature relative. What is unusual for me may be usual for you. Five-year-olds rarely get pissed at lunchtime whereas students may not think it so odd; water-boarding someone is probably a very strange thought to a pacifist granny but everyday to a professional torturer.

My point being that I wanted to tell you all that this album is unusual, that it is one of those rare sparks of life that make you re-evaluate everything... But then I realised that sentence is completely futile and devoid of meaning without a reference point; an anchor in perception which allows you to understand what 'unusual' means to me, and whether you agree, or whether you think that I'm sheltered and 'unusual'.

The problem with giving you that handhold, that chink in the wall to whisper to my Bottom, the cipher for my code, is that it is impossible to adequately describe myself without creating a web of assumption and falseness, or writing a piece so long that you might as well have actually come and hung out with me for a year or two and saved yourself the bother. The thing is, humans are complicated beasts, full of contradictions, subtleties, and oddities. People can surprise you after years of spending most of your day together and talking about everything you can think of.

What hope do I have of expressing anything with a full meaning that you can understand in the same shade of interpretation as me? Who is to say the words mean the same thing to us both? Do you even see the letters the same as I do?

Just a Ghost is infused with that kind of bewilderment and lack of connection to real life. It is an album in the true sense of the word; a coherent piece in which it is sometimes hard to differentiate the tracks. This makes it feel like a work of art. If this were playing in a gallery room on a loop I would sit there all day, immersed in another world.

The overall aesthetic is like a bored person switching idly through channels on the TV or radio, yet somehow the fragments come together in a way which makes sense. As you listen, the disparate elements start to converge, gaining musical qualities and giving you the sense of an underlying message. The choice of accompanying or binding sounds are perfect, raising what could have been cold experimentation into something you want to dance to.

This is music made by an alien beast disinterested in humanity's particulars, wanting instead to party in a hedonistic orbital rave, as though the broadcast sounds of earth were strikingly similar to their club music. This could have been cooked up by Tyres from Spaced, the odd and, in my opinion, genius pill-head who could find the beauty and rhythm in any everyday sound and could, and would, move to it. This album has the rare ability of allowing people not out of their skulls on ecstasy to see the sublime in the minutiae of everyday life; in the smallest and most inconsequential neglected products of mankind. It is sexy and surprising, and extraordinarily pretty in moments.

This album has some of the best individual sounds I have ever heard. There is grinding, buzzing, crunching, whining, beeping, sighing, a brief refrain like electronic bugs singing in the hotel suites they are supposed to surveil. There is a bit like a tank going up the stairs, and a harmony of electronic tones like the electricity itself is singing with a cacophonous crowd of tiny voices raised to Heaven. There are excellent and awesome creaks like a turbo kazoo. There is the sound of massive forks interlocked and scraping, or possibly a high-speed weaving machine. Present are the musical twists and turns of mosquitoes and out-of-order lifts, possessed VHS players and loudly shouting wires.

This is an ode to the voices of uncared for devices left to dust in a warehouse. This music is as though they have recorded randomly collated stuff, grabbing at the scurf of contemporary society like greedy toddlers and then forming it with sculptors hands into something new and wonderful. It is like a sound museum of collections of interest to a fragmented inhuman mind.

Trying to find a link among the fractured tastes is hard but the pattern is there. Slowly but surely, the album reveals a sense of meaning and truth, though putting your finger on the specificity of it is tricky. Nevertheless, it feels important.

There are snatches of instruments repeated as though someone is trying to understand them. They add a lyrical poeticism and classical culture element, a timelessness mingled with ultra-present. It is like they are building a new civilisation from echoes of past, via an explorative evisceration of present.

Imagine a horrifically curious scientist not meaning any harm but not understanding references which speak of torture, taking apart humans to see how they work without understanding suffering or death. Yet what is revealed is a beautiful simplicity and wonder, like finding gold in the heart of a rubbish tip, or discovering the god particle in the midst of invisible workings. This album rocks my soul in a way only sunrise through tequila eyes can. It excels at breaking down elements and fluffing up the remains to create beautiful mess - the glorious rainbow colours of guts and the delicacy of destruction.

It is important to note that this particular mash-up music is never overdone. There are moments when it seems overblown, like 90s Prodigy, but then that is revealed to be just another fragment. In some ways, this is similar to the music of Negative Trip, and their approach may be one of few viable responses to contemporary society.

They are building something wonderful from disillusion. All I can say is that if this is sound of future then beam me ahead because I need more now. In a world where it is said that all has already been done, maybe the only way to do something new is, like the Large Hadron Collider, to smash existing things/existence together at high speeds.

Those clashes form one version of the music, contrasted against its twin power, which is the ability to make something else visible from existing things, like a magic eye picture, or someone pointing out a detail in a view you thought you knew. The raw material is not new but the end product is still original. It gives new understanding; revelation.

This album whisks by, utterly absorbing. I wanted six times the length. I wanted another album to play, one in each speaker, fighting in glorious tandem, to push for more revelations, more creations. I developed a serious greed for pushing, understanding, and for crunching my mind into new shapes and densities, creating colour and exploding suns.

I had a compulsion to continue their method by smashing the products of smashing against each other - purer and purer, finer and finer, hoping never to reach the limit. Within me raged a hunger for seeing the sublime of the everyday, a thirst for creative destruction. Nuke the world!

Leave this in a bunker, it is enough. Like a Russian doll of combination creation, the middle is eternity and everlasting life, I Am A Man With A St Tropez Tan is the alchemist of the present day. Within this album is the joy of breaking things into elements and the deliciousness of reshaping them into an understanding compound which serves you.

The album finishes with the line, "Something in your life is ridiculous". I say that, without this album, everything in your life is ridiculous. If you have this on-hand, then at least there will be one thing in your life which seems more profound. This is the only truth that modern society can offer. Embrace it or let your mind die.

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