The Devin Townsend Project - _Ghost_
(Inside Out Music, 2011)
by: Dan Lake (9 out of 10)
The only reason an album with such an Earth-child, New Agey, Amazon Self Help Pick of the Week vibe gets cyber-ink from CoC at all is its creator's strong historical affiliation with Earth-scorching, Dark Agey, Self Mutilation Pick to the Head type music. _City_ this ain't. Not that anyone had a right to expect it to be. After numerous public declarations of sobriety and the ways in which a clear head affected his musical drive, Devin Townsend dropped one disc each of tightly reined jazz-rock, Skittles-for-the-soul dance metal, and unfettered sonic debauchery (_Ki_, _Addicted_, and _Deconstruction_ respectively). He also gave a couple years' fair warning that _Ghost_ was to be an ambient record, and fans whose dedication verged on the obsessive got periodic online video updates and previews. Those seeking deviant heaviosity never had any business with this fourth release under the Devin Townsend Project banner.

I approached this record with some trepidation, as I am one of those attention deficit morons who never could sit through 75 minutes of _The Hummer_, much of which sounds like Stars of the Lid might if somebody confiscated all their recording equipment. I thought _Ghost_ might live in the same headphoney space, not songs so much as whispery odes to oblivion. Not so. As suggested by its rich artwork, _Ghost_ is a vibrant, organic blend of wandering atmosphere and hooky songwriting that patiently and consistently reels the listener toward its sultry, incandescent heart. A few tracks ("Monsoon", "Infinite Ocean") flutter airily about with more space than substance, but many more are honest-to-goddess songs like "Seams", "Blackberry", "Fly" and "Kawaii", warm melodies pumped full of glittering atmospheric touches. At times it feels like _Ki_'s rhythmic intensity, which bucked so hard against that record's restraints, finally broke away to join _Deconstruction_'s unhinged revelry and left in _Ghost_ a melodic afterimage with a sparkling life force all its own.

While much of _Ghost_ envelops the listener in Devin's emotive guitar (and banjo) and breathy tenor, Townsend's true strength lies in his choice and deployment of collaborators. Kat Epple's pervasive flute accompaniment provides these songs with their most contemplative moments; Katrina Natale's subtle soprano complements Devin's voice and enhances the notion of this music as metaphysical journey. Townsend even credits a nameless Vancouver busker for writing the title track's effervescent verse. Such extraordinary partnerships have characterized the DTP quadrilogy, and should they represent a trend for his artistic growth (from the steady lineups of SYL and the DTB through the solitary tale-spinning of _Ziltoid_ into this new realm), perhaps even more imaginative inventions lurk in Hevy Devy's future. Not that we have any right to expect it.

Contact: http://www.hevydevy.com/

(article published 22/8/2011)


ALBUMS
10/7/2012 D Lake 8 The Devin Townsend Project - Epicloud
8/22/2011 D Lake 8.5 The Devin Townsend Project - Deconstruction
1/4/2010 J Smit 4 The Devin Townsend Project - Addicted
5/29/2009 D Cairns 9.5 The Devin Townsend Project - Ki
GIGS
11/1/2011 D Lake The Devin Townsend Project / The Ocean / Rome Apart Ziltoid Invasion, Good Vibrations
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