Agitated Atmosphere: Simon Joyner – Ghosts

As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to pull back the curtain on a wealth of sights and sound from luminaries such as Simon Joyner.

You may notice the tardiness of this review. I’ve had Ghosts, the first original sound from Simon Joyner in years, for a few months. But it hasn’t been sitting on the shelf. It’s been commandeering the turntable whenever the allure of a new LP has lost its luster. Somehow Ghosts wafts eerily back into place.

Listen to “The Last Parade”:

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Ghosts is three years of silence rattling back to life. Hints of troubled troubadours lay before Joyner’s latest, a warm jolt of traditional American songwriting scared by the oncoming stampede of change. The album is colossal and no one song stands above the other — a mighty feat for a double album.

Which is why it’s taken some time to find the words to aptly describe Ghosts. Joyner wins and I acquiesce. It’s not worth a critical review because I can’t think of a more perfect, more fitting musical expression of our time. A world splintering; torn to shreds beyond the seams by those who wish to divide us. It’s working if you hadn’t noticed. Joyner has even fallen for it — just a bit — undecided whether to record an album that’s inward like Oldham or Molina or a fractured take on the broken dream, as imagined by Reed and Smith.

Listen to “If I Left Tomorrow”:

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So he does both and it’s more grand and accurate than any statement a politician or diplomat could afford. It’s breathtakingly beautiful and though this is but written words, it has stolen all my verbiage until now. And this is just Ghosts allowing me to borrow them for a moment to tell you to listen and learn. And to see if you can fight its spectral allure.

Let it win…

Justin Spicer is a freelance journalist whose work can be viewed at his website. You can also find him on Twitter.

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