Whenever I listen to an ambient album, I always check and see where the artist’s influences stem from. In the case of The Lonely Bell, the full-length album called “Ghost Town Burning” does not necessarily beg to any path or another, but it goes about and presents itself as music in a timeless form. Some essential components might help us step into timelessness, encompass feelings of levitation, detachment from the body, absolute dissolution, or even total serenity. Undoubtedly, music can become a crucial factor of guiding light that can connect you with your hidden abilities, allowing you to sink in the immensity of another world.
So, today we’re heading to the work of musician and songwriter Ali Murray from the Isle of Lewis, Scotland. His new dark ambient drone album “Ghost Town Burning” attempts to set a connection between me and something that kinda lurks in the shadows. The record consists of two 20-minute dark, murky ambient/drone pieces that subtly shift and evolve throughout their duration. A profound dark ambient serves as the main base for the album, while various drones, echoing, off-distance shoegaze effects, and even some multi-layered electronica come out to play. Needless to say, right from the start, the feeling of being wrapped in a desolate landscape surrounded by nothing but your thoughts comes to mind. And you would probably think such a formula would fail as it has been tried before. However, The Lonely Bell is able it make it work perfectly.
The world that the first track, ‘Ghost Town Burning,’ creates is starkly cold and hollow, feeling entirely desolate. You can almost smell the dry trees and the factory ruins in some abandoned, remote, and snowy place. Effective usage of drone recordings only adds to the intensity of what The Lonely Bell has managed to create. The atmosphere becomes even sharper as the song runs, falling into a hypnotic yet almost static drift. Nevertheless, the impression of something anxious and cosmic will never leave your side. The track continues its run with various patterns alternating each other until it reaches its end with a gloomier and darker piece of dark ambient and drone music. For me, this track conveys the oppressive feeling of being deep underground.
The second track, ‘Then The Snow…‘ carries the windy and desolating feeling from the first, forwarding into a new ghostly territory. There is a solid feeling of menace and ruin, of sadness and relief, ideal for delving into on a cold winter night. Cinematics is a key work for these two tracks; one can feel it from the first tunes to the last. Without a doubt, Ali Murray, the mastermind behind The Lonely Bell project, crafts carefully, brick by brick, a soundscape that can reflect the proper sense of sadness. With this album, you can expand beyond the borders of your individual and ultimately celebrate the potential harmony of inner darkness. And the moment when you experience a painful plight when your world is broken apart, and if it seems that there is no more hope, “Ghost Town Burning” will comfort you, will be a beacon of light guiding you through your suffering.
An intense sadness is projected from this album, and I have taken my part in this dance. It’s the sort of sadness that paralyzes your will and poisons your heart with its sonic venom. Yet this immersive listening experience carries you away, somewhat demanding to continue its story. It’s your turn now to experience these dark nuances and spells The Lonely Bell makes their magic with. And to conclude this beyond sensory experience, I think “Ghost Town Burning” is one of the strongest and most honest albums I’ve listened to, ultimately having a meditative effect on you.
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