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Second Language

Ghost Stations / Geisterbahnhöfe

The name Ghost Stations (Geisterbahnhöfe in German) refers to the abandoned metro stations of London and Berlin. Those in London were shut down at various points during the 20th century and remain closed. You can see their traces – ox blood red arched facades revealed here and there at street level or phantom platforms glimpsed through the shadows as you rumble through tunnels at speed. The Berlin stations were closed during the Cold War period, keeping silent vigil in the no-mans-land between East and West before being reopened after reunification.

The music on Ghost Stations finds Dollboy conjuring the haunted spirit of these stations, basing his atmospherically charged compositions on field recordings captured at sites on both the U-bahn and the London Underground. As he says in the accompanying notes: “I have tried to imagine the spirits of those that might have passed through: commuters, revellers, spies, worshipers and the decaying remnants of ghostly dance orchestras.”

The results are nothing less than sublime; the music (actually a melting together of 12 individual tracks, each inspired by one or other of the titular stations) unfurling in one long, dream-like ‘train ride’ suite through the psycho-geography of two cities whose ambiguous histories remain immutably bound up with notions of ‘the underground’. It’s a curious but compellingly procession through an echoing mosaic of half-heard parlour pianos, gauzy electronics, mournful trumpets, preternatural throbs and even a baroque fragment of The Rolling Stones’ She’s A Rainbow, blown into our ears through tunnels of yesteryear. It’s eerily beautiful in the subtle, yet emotionally charged manner of Gavin Bryars’ The Sinking of the Titanic or Brian Eno’s On Land, yet, for all that, a unique and compelling sound world that’s all its own.

As with all Second Language releases, Ghost Stations is not only collectably limited edition and intimately hand-crafted but also comes complete with a range of commodious inserts (London and Berlin tube maps, customised Dollboy train ticket, etc).