Russian original Egor Fedotov, also known as Ships Fly Up, offers us a third full-length album by the name of Ghost Kingdom, a clear tribute to ominous progressive post-rock that makes you feel like you’re standing in an empty field on a cloudy day, waiting for the world to end. All work done by Fedotov, from recording to mixing to the album artwork. Respectable as heck!
Instrumental in its entirety, the main quality of this album can easily be described as atmospheric and ambient. Now, if were talking about a piece of work that is defined by the originalities of each track, still fitting together but each individual song being different than the last, this isn’t where one should look. What’s found here is nine tracks that all sound relatively the same, but if used in the proper scenario, are a progressive work of forty-five minutes developing a soothing ensemble of melancholy melodies. This type of composition has its own realm in the world of music, as it serves another purpose aside from just being enjoyable music. Hearing a sort-of emptiness and ominous set of sounds is soothing to any human, and can really trigger the “flow” state. Just like when us millennials listen to “study” music on YouTube to help us focus, and when yogis chant the “Om” sound for this same purpose. This may or may not have been the intention here, but I definitely feel the state of calmness the artist might have been trying to communicate.
Rhythmically and theoretically speaking, multi-instrumentalist Egor knows what he is doing. There are rarely moments of discomfort, but those moments do exist; like on the first track “Ghost Kingdom,” where the strings appearing about three minutes in sound slightly dissonant to the rest of the tune and could use a little harmonic revision, but this isn’t a large scale issue for this album. Something I really appreciate is the nuances and dynamics of the second song “About Death,” where you can really hear that Egor is, in fact, a great musician. You can really feel all the soft touches and details. Although I am appreciative of many aspects of this album, I do crave more in-depth and theoretically impressive (and maybe a little ridiculous?) instrumental music, but that isn’t always necessary. So what do I know, really?
In the end, the all-in-all composition of Ghost Kingdom is quite pleasing and will most likely grab many with its lulling properties, deep synths (which are always awesome), and thought provoking qualities. Ships Fly Up already has an original sound and feel, and has obviously built a solid base for a discography that is colourful yet true to the artist’s sound and style. You’ll never have to convince me that the world doesn’t need more progressive music, because it always does. The dreamier, the better.
Written by Talia Plante
*edited by Chris Aitkens