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Moore, Kevin: Ghost Book

Kevin Moore probably needs no introduction for most of you. Suffice to say that his keyboard work on Dream Theater's early albums, as well as his input on more recent projects like OSI and Chroma Key have kept him quite busy over the years. Now, Mr. Moore has added film soundtrack composer to his resume. Ghost Book is the soundtrack to a recent Turkish horror/comedy called Okul (Turkish for school) and the music consists almost exclusively of ambient soundscapes, sampled percussion and some electric guitar here and there. In fact, Moore performs most everything on the album, with the exception of "Romantik" and "Erotik", which were both composed and performed by Foe Sho (don't worry, I've never heard that name either).

Most of the songs on Ghost Book are in the one and a half to two minute range, with a few of them breaking the four minute mark. The end result is that some of the pieces feel incomplete. But nothing in these brief musical extracts is exactly unpleasant either. For example, "Far Fara" has a sort of trip-hop groove with a dash of female vocals, but the song finishes far too early. Highlights would definitely include "Mirrors and Phones", a great track that wouldn't be out of place on Peter Gabriel's Passion. I also really enjoy the Foe Sho songs, particularly "Erotik" which, of all things, bring the sexually explicit Irene Papas song from 666 by Aphrodite's Child to mind.

I am not sure what Dream Theater fans will make of this CD, but Ghost Book is a very creditable effort from a man more commonly associated with heavy metal and progressive rock than floating, drifting keyboard atmospherics. It's a fine album for background music but most of it certainly does not invite active listening. Now if I could only find the film!

Track Listing

  1. Rhodes Song
  2. Prayer Call
  3. Piano Theme
  4. Roof Access (Day)
  5. Far Fara
  6. P.S.
  7. Library Noise
  8. Overheard
  9. Romantik
  10. The Hecklers
  11. Mirrors and Phones
  12. Shall We Jump
  13. Cowbloke
  14. Erotik
  15. Roof Access (Night)
  16. Hallways and Light
  17. Afterschool
  18. Sad Sad Movie
Total Playing Time 46:30

Added: April 1st 2005
Reviewer: Steve Pettengill
Related Link: InsideOut Music America Webpage
Hits: 4737
Language: english

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Moore, Kevin: Ghost Book
Posted by Murat Batmaz, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-04-01 06:24:10
My Score:

This is a very interesting story indeed. A guy from Turkey starts writing this book called "Hayalet Kitap" (meaning Ghost Book) way back in 1999 or something. While writing, he listens to a lot of Kevin Moore-era Dream Theater and even uses an excerpt from "Space Dye-Vest" as a prologue to his story. The more he listens to Moore's music, the deeper he goes with his writing and eventually his book gets published and gets quite of an attention. Years later, he is asked to write the script of a horror movie called OKUL (meaning School) and adapt his story of Ghost Book to it. As he and the directors of the movie think of a fitting soundtrack for their flick, Kevin Moore relocates to Istanbul, Turkey, in order to write and record his third album for his Chroma Key project. All of a sudden, Dogu Yucel, the writer, and Moore meet to discuss the possibilities of working together and upon discovering that his music was a great inspiration for the book, Moore agrees to postpone the Chroma Key record, and starts work on Ghost Book, his first ever completely solo effort to date.

Now I haven't read the book, nor have I seen the movie. Being a big Dream Theater and Chroma Key fan, I figured I'd just wait till this soundtrack sees the light of day. So I've picked it up recently and have to strongly point out that this sounds absolutely NOTHING like Kevin Moore's previous musical endeavours. Although the label claims this would "have direct appeal to fans of [Dream Theater, OSI, Chroma Key]", Ghost Book is a completely different entity. Do not pick it up if you expect to hear anything similar to the aforementioned bands musically. Obviously this is just a marketing ploy. On the other hand don't hesitate to check it out if you're a fan of Moore's minimalist approach to songwriting with various experimental soundscapes in his songcraft. Also be sure to keep in mind that this is not a studio album, it's just a soundtrack to a teenslasher movie. Therefore it displays ultra ambient textures writing-wise.

That said, Ghost Book is a very key step in the sound of Kevin Moore's music giving him the opportunity for a more powerful artistic expression. The album delves into completely unexplored ground and constantly experiments with various textures. It contains lots of primitive instruments possibly stemming from Moore's adventurous stay in Costa Rica before he moved to Turkey. The drum-circle recording that runs through some of the compositions have a recurring theme and are present in the background of the tunes. This being a soundtrack album, most of the 'songs' clock in at less than 3 minutes and Moore provides vocals on only one track, namely "Sad Sad Movie", which is also the longest track on the CD. There's also a female singer on this traditional Turkish song "Farfara" which is perhaps the most wicked offering of the album viciously moving from west to east trying to find a balance in between. I am particularly fond of "Overheard" which is an excellent testament to Moore's artistic creativity and perhaps the most song-oriented track on this disc. "Piano Theme", "Cowbloke" and both "Roof Access" tracks are also highlights of this work. Sonically most of the songs are sparse and spacy with delicate sound effects and layers of moody textures. Moore even plays the guitar in "Cowbloke" although lots of his fans may believe it's all keyboard-generated stuff. The album bleeds atmosphere in a dark, creepy and evocative landscape. There's a unique underlying complexity to the compositions, yet they are still very easy to listen to because of their minimalist structure.

Despite its strong points that I have just mentioned, this is one of those albums that may take a while to get used to. Not because of its complexity, but because it's an album that moves very slowly. Almost the entire disc is instrumental save for the spoken words taken from the movie which sound like they're coming through a muffled microphone at times so even some die-hard Chroma Key fans may find it a tad difficult to get used to. I own the Turkish edition of the CD and it contains three bonus tracks with two other Turkish musicians. One of them is a quite popular singer but I can't say I care for his style. The other two tracks, however, are more interesting and have more momentum. They're more straightforward rock tunes but I can't say they go too well with the rest of the tracks. This one also has a better cover art and pics taken by Kevin himself in the booklet.

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