Review - Tune In, Turn On, Free Tibet

Artist: Ghost

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Drag City is the record label singularly resuscitating rock & roll, in my opinion. Ghost contributes to my theory with its Japanese hybrid of folk, psychedelic and hard rock, often expressed in fearless instrumental trials. Ghost packs its sound with a listless motive, capturing contemplation while one hand rests comfortably in the cookie jar. The band makes far-out music, and "Tune In, Turn On, Free Tibet" operates smack-dab in that magical space.

Sporting near-English vocals, a chorale and warbling recorder, the protest song "Comin' Home" doesn't as much enlighten Tibetan tragedy as it proves how emotive music can be: Feelings drip from the speakers. Amid birds chirping, the most subtle percussive echo meets the most subtle guitar delay meets children's vocals and then a dearth of fuzzed guitar, hurdy-gurdy, timpani and vibes. Leader Masaki Batoh takes the band to progressive regions by inflecting the ridiculous nuances of rock excess to a purpose, thereby succeeding at what is historically regarded as pomposity. The 30-plus-minute title track is any mystic's accompaniment -- quite a beautiful sound.

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