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REVIEWS Ghost in the Rain

MEDIA REVIEWS OF 'GHOST IN THE RAIN' ALBUM
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numberSTEREO STICKMAN First released in 2012, Ghost In The Rain is something of a vintage offering or hidden gem from the wonderful producer and songwriter that is Alien Skin. Throughout his recorded collections there is often this vast and unspecific air of creativity, though despite the striking variation between soundscapes, there is always still, somehow, this familiar energy. Perhaps it’s the sound of George Pappas’ voice, or perhaps it’s something more. This unique fusion of the electronic world and the utterly emotional and poetic one is undoubtedly something that has a certain stamp of character about it.

Ghost In The Rain opens with all of these qualities, the soundscape to the aptly named Vintage is all at once dreamlike and industrial. The lightness and wash of the vocal performance dances its way across the surface of the piece, and within that, these snippets of unpredictable lyricism present themselves. Moving forwards, there’s something beautifully crisp about the collection that leaves you with an image of the artist, and the lasting feeling that common thought simply doesn’t search deep enough. The title track is all of this, the instrumentation is minimal yet magnetic. As the music sways between intense and calming, you’re either considering the world or escaping from it entirely at any given moment.

                    I am a ghost, remember me this way..

It’s been a while since I’ve listened to an Alien Skin album in full. However, by all accounts, this is one of the most mesmerising and artistic collections of his to date. This meeting of the other worldly – the bizarre sound effects, the unexpected samples – and the absolute here and now, is beautiful. There are some real moments of melodic bliss that are often featured within riffs or backing synths. As is always the case, Alien Skin’s inherent creative freedom is incomparable. Stay With Me makes for a wonderful example of all of these points, a soothing and provocative piece that soon evolves into a rhythmic and uplifting indie gift.

As you progress through Brigitte and Perfect World, the sheer scope of Alien Skin’s creative reach and indeed his inner thought process show themselves more and more. I’ve said it before about his work, these are thoughts we don’t often consider, but even those we do – they are, in this case, phrased in a way that shines a completely new light on everything. Candy Lips is no exception; there are lyrical moments that strike a chord, that seem familiar, possible to relate to, but there is always this fresh perspective that makes you question even your own understanding. These are the rare and deeply human moments that show a slight touch of realness and even vulnerability to the songwriter. To say rare is perhaps inaccurate though, there are so many of these moments throughout all of the songs, but the approach is much more interesting and far more unpredictable than is usually the case.

Vanishing Girl plays further with the idea of human connection. At this point, as the music ascends into this hugely atmospheric ocean of sound, it’s clear how intensely powerful and indeed charming this volume of songs is. The journey is breathtaking, to listen half heartedly simply wouldn’t do it justice. These are the sort of songs you can spend an evening with and wake up feeling like something life changing has happened. The experience is exquisite, and the creative variation is unwavering and ever impressively executed.

Vampyra continues the theme a little. The music has a softness here which plays well in contrast to the former track. There’s a guitar like riff that comes with a touch of the orient and again adds a completely new scene within this world of stories. As Cynthia begins, it’s not the first moment at which you’re likely to appreciate the explicitly female subject matter focused upon throughout the album. The more you learn, the more inviting it is to return to certain songs and moments to try to piece it all together. Who is the real ghost in the rain? The artist, the master of intrigue, has done an almighty job with this one.

                    Ashes to ashes, I want you back..

Music Box Doll is the final song of the project. Again, this wondering about who the ghost is is inflicted upon the listener. Any confusion is beautifully re-emphasised by this unique and uncompromised song that seems all at once explicitly joyful and unbearably sad. The lyrics add to the whirlpool of ideas and emotions, and the music itself cascades and crashes into its latter half. Perhaps it’s difficult to tell how you’re meant to feel, but perhaps there’s no meant to it at all. If you let it in, your own experience will dictate the way it affects you; that’s how real art works. And that’s what Alien Skin gives us, time and time again. Real art. This album is stunning.

Listen & download the album via Bandcamp. Find & follow Alien Skin on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. Visit his Website for more information. Rebecca Cullen for Stereo Stickman July 4th, 2017

read original review here



numberMODERN SYNTHPOP BLOG Ghost in the Rain, the new album from Alien Skin is a masterpiece, an ethereal delight for the senses. It’s the third album from former Real Life synth player George Pappas, following the release of The Unquiet Grave in 2010 and Don’t Open Till Doomsday in 2008.

Pappas has done what many synthpop artists have attempted but few have accomplished – he has carved out his own unique sound, characterized by beautifully crafted lyrics that create pictures in your mind and songs that are a bit melancholic without crossing the line into excess. I got the impression as I listened to Ghost in the Rain of a seasoned artist who is in supreme command of his instruments and his voice, able to blend the two into perfect, evocative tapestries.

This is not music to listen to while driving in your car. Rather, curl up in a chair in a quiet spot – preferably on a chilly, rainy night – slow down your busy mind and immerse yourself in its subtle and irresistible charms.

Here are some highlights of this incredible album:

Vintage – A haunting aural delight about a long-dead film noir movie star with whom the narrator is smitten. It features shimmering synths and minor key riffs, overlaid by George’s delicate voice. It is a great mood piece; Pappas does a masterful job of creating a song that evokes mental images of a femme fatale lighting a cigarette in a shadowy alley. Vintage sets the tone for the rest of the album with its moody atmospheric style.

Ghost in the Rain - Another deeply haunting ballad about a broken relationship. “I am a ghost/trembling in the rain/I am a ghost/Remember me this way.” An echoey, garbled voice track and sythesized chorus in the middle of the song reinforces the mental image of a ghostly figure, trapped between two worlds. Not scary, just sad. Once again, the synths are the perfect accent to this song – used for emphasis in between the vocals, rather than a layered wall of sound. Very effective!

Stay With Me - This is the closest thing to a love song on this album. Stay With Me is a nice mid-tempo melody with just a touch of melancholy around the edges.

Brigitte – When he was writing this song, Pappas imagined an allied soldier in the trenches on the “killing fields” of France during World War I – where tens of thousands of troops gave their lives. He is awaiting the order to charge toward certain death, and holds in his hand a crumpled image of a beautiful woman who he has never met. He’s pining for a love that never was, while realizing he only had a few hours to live before the order to charge would come. The lyrics of Brigette are incredibly evocative: “My Brigitte/As the earth becomes my blanket/And autumn dies/I’ll be left behind.” This is a beautiful, heartfelt song.

Perfect World – A quirky synth riff at the beginning gives way to a melancholy song. “Voices shriek aroud my ears/They cry forlorn, then disappear/But when you’re here, they dance and swirl/And when you’re here, it’s another world.” A chorus of voices with a synthesizer riff on top is the perfect instrumental close to this gorgeous arrangement.

Vanishing Girl – I love the concept behind this song. The narrator is obsessed with a girl at a local horror show who vanishes before the eyes of the audience. He watches her every night, and fantasizes that when she disappears, she goes to be with him – until the next day’s show. But he longs to hang on to her, and to not have to share her with the audience at the horror show. “Vanishing girl, if I stop you from reappearing/Then you’ll always be with me/You’ll only be real in my private show.” Another very cool song – one of my favorites on Ghost in the Rain.

Music Box Doll – The album closes with another evocative ballad. This one is about a pale girl who is very fragile, like an old, cracked music box doll. The story teller remembers a better time when she was “full of life” and “ten feet tall,” but today she is a mere shadow of her former self.

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, I’m sure it’s fairly obvious who my favorite synthpop artists are – groups like Mesh, DE/VISION, Iris, Babylonia, Foretaste and Marsheaux. Still, I’ve been hungering for some time now for an artist or album that would literally blow my socks off. So much of what I get to evaluate as the author of this blog is average, forgettable music that I just can’t connect with, melodically, lyrically or emotionally. When nearly anyone can produce electronic music, you’ve got to skim through a lot of dross to get to the real gold.

I’m happy to report that George Pappas and his Alien Skin project have exceeded my expectations on all these levels. Ghost in the Rain is a masterpiece, easily one of the best new albums of 2012, in my opinion. I highly recommend it!
Chuck Frey for Modern Synthpop April 12th, 2012

read the original review here



number 3CHAIN DLK (Italy) Two years from the album "The Unquiet Grave" issued by A Different Drum, Alien Skin is back with a new album titled "Ghost In The Rain". This time George decided to have full control on the album, so, he self released it. Since from its title "Ghost In The Rain" has a feeling of intimacy: it makes me think of gray days and introspection. Well, this is the third time in a row that I listen to it and that feeling is confirmed and it's enriched by all the nice tiny melodic arrangements that George put into the songs.

Most of the ten songs are atmospheric mid tempos where George sings and whispers about memories of lost lovers. Take, for example, "Candy Lips". It sounds romantic and nostalgic and the atmosphere is made by groovy soft rhythms, synth pads, light piano chords and windy sounds. The melody kinda explodes into the refrain when George sings: "I hear a noise from afar, it's just your world tapping on your window frame". Also the following, "Vanishing Girl", is a beautiful one. It has a rhythm a little more upbeat compared to "Candy Lips" and lightly distorted bass lines. Just add catchy synth melodies and a good amount of reverb and you'll have a ghostly atmosphere which on the refrain is enriched by a female vocal solo.

George Pappas with "Ghost In The Rain" confirmed himself to be a sophisticated songwriter who has a great taste for melody and arrangement. Check it out! Definitely...
Maurizio Pustianaz, April 30th 2012 for CHAIN DLK webzine

read the original review here


4KAGE ALAN Forget for the moment what you know about traditional label-released albums and music. Why? Because there's no easy way to describe the Alien Skin albums except to say that they don't fit into the category I just mentioned. First and foremost, these are labors of love from writer/vocalist/musician George Pappas. He has no record company standing over him demanding he work with specific producers while the bean counters expect a number of hits to justify their investment. Throw that idea right out the window. Alien Skin exists because he wants it to and because he invests himself in it.

Ghost in the Rain is his third outing here and much like the other two albums (Don't Open Till Doomsday and The Unquiet Grave), might best be thought of as musical and lyrical poetry combined into one unmistakable sound. Think of Alien Skin as a very large mansion and each album is akin to exploring rooms within the expanse of its grounds. And no, it's absolutely not pretentious. This is years of experience being channeled into artistry. Each track manages to sound sparse, yet the more you listen to it, the more layered you realize it truly is and the more it builds. Ghost in the Rain and Brigitte are two tracks that comes readily to mind as examples of this.

Prepare yourself, too, to listen to the album as a whole rather than picking out favorites for your iPod Shuffle. As with the previous two releases, Ghost in the Rain is best experienced as a whole. George Pappas manages to set a specific mood while making each track sound unique, yet part of the whole. Between the surreal Perfect World to the romanticism of the music in Candy Lips (combined with lyrics suggesting anything but romance going on with the object of the song itself), you may--as I did--find yourself sitting there contemplating just what exactly is going on in this world he's created.

Be careful what questions you ask, though. Once Ghost in the Rain draws you in, telling yourself "It's only an album...it's only an album..." may not help you escape its delightfully hypnotic-like qualities.

- by Author Kage Alan April, 24th 2012
www.kagealan.com

5WORDPRESS Wipe that frown from your face.  In fact, get prepared to turn white as a ghost.  The album Ghost in the Rain by Alien Skin will have the synth pop/alternative adult contemporary faithful unflinching as the unswerved state of constants smooths out into the vast expanse of ethereal conviviality is entertainment in its eleventh hour.  The expression harvests a cathedral of sound that chimes in the matrimony of phantom and eidolic vocals that resemble true 80′s Brit pop aligning some spacey and dark spurts of electronic radiance that seem to percolate to the sweeping soundscapes of alternative adult contemporary.  In any event, this is a sound effort by producer/songwriter/performer, his third album, George Pappas, following the release of The Unquiet Grave in 2010 and Don’t Open Til Doomsday in 2008.  The former Real Life artist may well have a timeless classic on his hands as this eerie apparitional gem is a virtual masterpiece of studio and sound manipulation.

Like many synth pop albums of recent times, Ghost in the Rain, is a thematic divergence of the many walks of life colliding together.  In many respects it represents a bookmark for reading further into modern society.  The title of the album applies to some insight of the overall gestation as it lieces a portrayal of the dissociative effect of filial patronage.  This album reflects, not only the supposed appraisal of personal experience/vindication, but prevailed a certain growing trend that appears to be the fallout of post-modernity. 

The monolith of ambiguous dexterity bends the imagination drawn from the atmosphere that has provided relinquishing alocation, most certainly, with a deft hand for imagery and postulation.  Indeed, on tracks like “Vintage” the depiction of a Venus femme fatale of film noir eschews the dazzling bedragledness of a woman taking a drag from her cigarette in a dark alley.  The potent reminder that sombre tone indeed lights up the smokey chamber of illumination.  The eccentricity lays the foundation for some soft and despondent vocals that invigilate the sequence whilst the mystery is unravelled with some digitally enhanced effect on the keyboards. 

The procession continues with a servile promenade of textured savvy on “Brigette” that envisions the dredge of frontline battle in France during WWI.  The soldier facing a charge into enemy lines faces certain death and as he counts down his final hours he bays his heart over his fancied loved one which he revels over in a crumpled photograph.  “My Brigette/As the earth becomes my blanket/And autumn dies/I’ll be left behind,” reveals the inevitable curtain call that this man has vied towards his eventual demise.  A touching rendition. 

The galvanized exposure to some macabre solidarity ensues once again on the appeasement ”Vanishing Girl.”  “Vanishing girl, if I stop you from reappearing/Then you’ll always be with me/You’ll only be real in my private show” elaborates on the moving suggestion that the woman from the horror show has escaped his grasp only to enliven to forever etching herself in his memory.  A serendipitous provision that borderlines on intrinsic imperial perusal.  The song left a lasting impression that is sure to tickle the fancy of those who can relate to the idea of bringing home the lasting memory of a movie star to the comfort of your own home.  A moving enterprise that corrals the emotional motif.

Ghost in the Rain by Alien Skin is a welcome addition to any collection.  It sets the standard for the industry and has a phenomenal outcrop of songs that elaborate on so many anecdotal illustrations.  Pappas has managed to not only produce a gaggle of highly altruistic modules, but he has refrained from being too overdrawn and contemptuous.  This one will pave the way for higher consolidation without having you feeling withdrawn.  However, it is rather dark and gloomy leaving an parchment of emotional upheaval- in moderation of course.  A highly prolific semantic that walks out the door on a miserable gray afternoon and pays subtle nuance to the overcast amelioration.  A marvel of invention.  Not to be missed…

Wordpress review October 3rd, 2012

Read the original review here

 

 

by Kage Alan
24 April 2012

Forget for the moment what you know about traditional label-released albums and music. Why? Because there's no easy way to describe the Alien Skin albums except to say that they don't fit into the category I just mentioned. First and foremost, these are labors of love from writer/vocalist/musician George Pappas. He has no record company standing over him demanding he work with specific producers while the bean counters expect a number of hits to justify their investment. Throw that idea right out the window. Alien Skin exists because he wants it to and because he invests himself in it.

Ghost in the Rain is his third outing here and much like the other two albums (Don't Open Till Doomsday and The Unquiet Grave), might best be thought of as musical and lyrical poetry combined into one unmistakable sound. Think of Alien Skin as a very large mansion and each album is akin to exploring rooms within the expanse of its grounds. And no, it's absolutely not pretentious. This is years of experience being channeled into artistry. Each track manages to sound sparse, yet the more you listen to it, the more layered you realize it truly is and the more it builds. Ghost in the Rain and Brigitte are two tracks that comes readily to mind as examples of this.

Prepare yourself, too, to listen to the album as a whole rather than picking out favorites for your iPod Shuffle. As with the previous two releases, Ghost in the Rain is best experienced as a whole. George Pappas manages to set a specific mood while making each track sound unique, yet part of the whole. Between the surreal Perfect World to the romanticism of the music in Candy Lips (combined with lyrics suggesting anything but romance going on with the object of the song itself), you may--as I did--find yourself sitting there contemplating just what exactly is going on in this world he's created.

Be careful what questions you ask, though. Once Ghost in the Rain draws you in, telling yourself "It's only an album...it's only an album..." may not help you escape its delightfully hypnotic-like qualities.

- by Author Kage Alan
www.kagealan.com

Forget for the moment what you know about traditional label-released albums and music. Why? Because there's no easy way to describe the Alien Skin albums except to say that they don't fit into the category I just mentioned. First and foremost, these are labors of love from writer/vocalist/musician George Pappas. He has no record company standing over him demanding he work with specific producers while the bean counters expect a number of hits to justify their investment. Throw that idea right out the window. Alien Skin exists because he wants it to and because he invests himself in it.

Ghost in the Rain is his third outing here and much like the other two albums (Don't Open Till Doomsday and The Unquiet Grave), might best be thought of as musical and lyrical poetry combined into one unmistakable sound. Think of Alien Skin as a very large mansion and each album is akin to exploring rooms within the expanse of its grounds. And no, it's absolutely not pretentious. This is years of experience being channeled into artistry. Each track manages to sound sparse, yet the more you listen to it, the more layered you realize it truly is and the more it builds. Ghost in the Rain and Brigitte are two tracks that comes readily to mind as examples of this.

Prepare yourself, too, to listen to the album as a whole rather than picking out favorites for your iPod Shuffle. As with the previous two releases, Ghost in the Rain is best experienced as a whole. George Pappas manages to set a specific mood while making each track sound unique, yet part of the whole. Between the surreal Perfect World to the romanticism of the music in Candy Lips (combined with lyrics suggesting anything but romance going on with the object of the song itself), you may--as I did--find yourself sitting there contemplating just what exactly is going on in this world he's created.

Be careful what questions you ask, though. Once Ghost in the Rain draws you in, telling yourself "It's only an album...it's only an album..." may not help you escape its delightfully hypnotic-like qualities.

- by Author Kage Alan
www.kagealan.com
Forget for the moment what you know about traditional label-released albums and music. Why? Because there's no easy way to describe the Alien Skin albums except to say that they don't fit into the category I just mentioned. First and foremost, these are labors of love from writer/vocalist/musician George Pappas. He has no record company standing over him demanding he work with specific producers while the bean counters expect a number of hits to justify their investment. Throw that idea right out the window. Alien Skin exists because he wants it to and because he invests himself in it.

Ghost in the Rain is his third outing here and much like the other two albums (Don't Open Till Doomsday and The Unquiet Grave), might best be thought of as musical and lyrical poetry combined into one unmistakable sound. Think of Alien Skin as a very large mansion and each album is akin to exploring rooms within the expanse of its grounds. And no, it's absolutely not pretentious. This is years of experience being channeled into artistry. Each track manages to sound sparse, yet the more you listen to it, the more layered you realize it truly is and the more it builds. Ghost in the Rain and Brigitte are two tracks that comes readily to mind as examples of this.

Prepare yourself, too, to listen to the album as a whole rather than picking out favorites for your iPod Shuffle. As with the previous two releases, Ghost in the Rain is best experienced as a whole. George Pappas manages to set a specific mood while making each track sound unique, yet part of the whole. Between the surreal Perfect World to the romanticism of the music in Candy Lips (combined with lyrics suggesting anything but romance going on with the object of the song itself), you may--as I did--find yourself sitting there contemplating just what exactly is going on in this world he's created.

Be careful what questions you ask, though. Once Ghost in the Rain draws you in, telling yourself "It's only an album...it's only an album..." may not help you escape its delightfully hypnotic-like qualities.

- by Author Kage Alan
www.kagealan.com

 

Forget for the moment what you know about traditional label-released albums and music. Why? Because there's no easy way to describe the Alien Skin albums except to say that they don't fit into the category I just mentioned. First and foremost, these are labors of love from writer/vocalist/musician George Pappas. He has no record company standing over him demanding he work with specific producers while the bean counters expect a number of hits to justify their investment. Throw that idea right out the window. Alien Skin exists because he wants it to and because he invests himself in it.

Ghost in the Rain is his third outing here and much like the other two albums (Don't Open Till Doomsday and The Unquiet Grave), might best be thought of as musical and lyrical poetry combined into one unmistakable sound. Think of Alien Skin as a very large mansion and each album is akin to exploring rooms within the expanse of its grounds. And no, it's absolutely not pretentious. This is years of experience being channeled into artistry. Each track manages to sound sparse, yet the more you listen to it, the more layered you realize it truly is and the more it builds. Ghost in the Rain and Brigitte are two tracks that comes readily to mind as examples of this.

Prepare yourself, too, to listen to the album as a whole rather than picking out favorites for your iPod Shuffle. As with the previous two releases, Ghost in the Rain is best experienced as a whole. George Pappas manages to set a specific mood while making each track sound unique, yet part of the whole. Between the surreal Perfect World to the romanticism of the music in Candy Lips (combined with lyrics suggesting anything but romance going on with the object of the song itself), you may--as I did--find yourself sitting there contemplating just what exactly is going on in this world he's created.

Be careful what questions you ask, though. Once Ghost in the Rain draws you in, telling yourself "It's only an album...it's only an album..." may not help you escape its delightfully hypnotic-like qualities.

- by Author Kage Alan
www.kagealan.com