Tim Bowness has never, ever disappointed me with his music. Since my introduction came to his music came from Henry Fool on an episode of Sid Smith’s Podcasts from the Yellow Room and buying two of his albums on The Laser’s Edge, it’s always kind of neat to see what Tim will think of next. This year, he’s released his fourth studio album on the InsideOut Music label entitled Lost in the Ghost Light. The album cover which is done by Jarrod Gosling which I could tell he was inspired by the artwork of Frank Zappa’s 1973 classic, Over-Nite Sensation and the concept story behind it, is sad and touching.
It tells the story about a fictional rock musician named Jeff Harrison who was a part of a group called Moonshot who goes through the present day and it’s a love letter to a memory that lings. The songs on here, take place between 1967 and 2017 as Tim mentions in the story that it explores both the majestic and mundane element of the “Rock Life.” It addresses the seeming permanence of transient fads and the fact they feel imprisoned in specific pockets between the cultural and actual time period.
Recorded in the States, England, and Sweden between the genesis of the story in the Autumn of 2009 to 2016 while mixed and mastered by Steven Wilson, Tim brought some people involved for a helping hand including Stephen Bennett (The Opium Cartel/Henry Fool), Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree/Burnt Belief), Bruce Soord (The Pineapple Thief), Hux Nettemalm (Paatos) and Andrew Booker (No-Man/Henry Fool).
And featuring guests musicians Kim Watkins (Happy The Man/Camel), Steve Bingham (No-Man), and Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull). When I’ve heard about the who’s who, I knew right away this is an album I was really looking forward. I went ahead and bought it straight away on The Laser’s Edge and from the moment I put the CD on, I was completely staggered.
On my blog site in one of my reviews, I mentioned some of the albums that are like a movie inside your mind. Lost in the Ghost Light is one of them. Moonshot Manchild reminded me of the Wind & Wuthering-era of Genesis as the character looks back of the good old days with Moonshot. The synths reminisces between Pink Floyd’s Richard Wright and Tony Banks as Tim’s voices matches in the time frame for Jeff’s story.
Nowhere Good to Go sees Jeff now as a vision of himself. He begins to realizes by looking at himself in the mirror to find out “was it really worth it?” It’s a sad, acoustic, folky ballad as the song describes Jeff’s fans looking up to him in his heyday. He goes to a theater that once filled the stage, is now an abandoned arena and you can feel a pin drop. The reflections of the present of You Wanted to Be Seen is shown.
With reverb vocals, midsection ‘70s synths, and the lights flashing for success combined with a dramatic rhythm section with a Symphonic rising sun done in the styles of the mid ‘70s Bowie-sque sound, Tim’s lyrics is feeling Jeff’s pain and remembrance of his successful career in the time period of Harrison’s golden-era. Kill the Pain That’s Killing You has pulse-like rhythmic beats with Netterman’s drums taking the touches from The Mars Votla’s De-Loused in the Comatorium-era featuring a psychedelic freak-out by Bennett’s guitar.
The ghostly image with electronic beats and echoing flute effect from Kim goes through the situation on the price of success on the title-track while the closer Distant Summers is a somber finale to Jeff as he begins his next chapter. He knows that the good old days he will keep to cherish and remembering them as Colin’s string bass along with Ian Anderson’s flute lets him know it’s time for to return and make a comeback.
Tim himself has scored more than just a homerun. I hope he doesn’t stop because I can imagine there’s a lot more to come. It’s a reflection and an impressive release this year from Bowness. I have now listened to this four to six times of Lost in the Ghost Light. The DVD contains the 5.1 mix by Bruce Soord for Stupid Things That Mean the World and a stereo mix of the fourth album by Steven Wilson and a picture gallery that contains portraits of Tim himself and performing along with artwork of Jarrod.
I would like to see Tim record the whole album in front of a live audience with film that tells the story of Jeff’s life. I know it is way, way, way too early for top 30 albums for 2017, but this is definitely in my top 10 of this year. If you are going to have a huge amount of stars, it would be either 9 or a 10.