The story behind this post begins in a little review in Wire magazine, two or three months ago, about a new EP of an unfamiliar band called Warm Ghost. Albeit the strange name, something in the description attracted me to listen to it. Shortly after, I found myself playing this fantastic EP repeatedly. Warm Ghost is the new project of songwriter Paul Duncan and his evil electronic wizard Oliver Chapoy.
This EP, titles Claws Overhead (released earlier this year), completely blew my mind. It’s a master work in terms of hooking personal and intimate songwriting, with some far out, theoretically unrelated electronic elements. It’s not the cute folktronica we learned to expect from artists like Juana Molina, but a beautiful mixture of dark 80’s, synth pop, early techno, some 4AD influences and more.
Duncan’s beautiful singing, though usually covered in filters of all sorts, is spreading a warm melancholy over the top, and the Chapoy’s sounds and production is just hypnotizing. Yes, it’s THAT good.
This five songs EP were released with Geographical North records, who also offered a digital release that contains bonus tacks of remixes by people like Oren Ambarchi, and Chicago’s favorite cello player Fred Longberg Holm and others, but I had no idea about the what were the original songs that were remixed in this digital bonuses version, though I liked it very much.
I discovered Paul Duncan was a songwriter before Warm Ghost. And boy, what an amazing discovery. Released three albums, the latest was Above The Trees , back in 2007 with Hometapes.
This is, simply put, a stunning collection of personal, intimate, introspective, well produced and played set of songs. If you gotta find some hooks to relate to, I can throw in the names Nick Drake (though mostly electric) and Bonnie Prince Billy (similar voice in some songs), but he’s really a Paul Duncan. After listening to this album over and over for the entire mid-November, including now, I realized that the remixes in Warm Ghost, are for songs from Above The Trees, and these remixes got a deeper meaning.
Paul Duncan is seriously a great discovery for all you singer/songwriter lovers. His words and music are beautiful, and his production and arrangements ideas are well thought and planned, and, like the Bristol guys like to say – everything’s in its right place.
Do check out Duncan’s earlier solo works, and definitely grab yourself a copy of Warm Ghost EP. Partisan Records will release the ep+remixes in their February 2011 release of this album.