Spencer Grady, Record Collector
June 2009

Belbury Poly From an Ancient Star (Ghost Box)

 

The habitat of the hauntological shifts itself skywards into the dubious realms of pseudo- archaeology and paleocontact hypotheses with this release. Taking the ancient astronaut theories of Erich Van Daniken, Zacharia Sitchin and Robert KG Temple as its starting point, From An Ancient Star pushes the Ghost Box nostalgia trip into uncharted territories, to the stars and beyond.

Those same ideas which maintain that intelligent extraterrestrials have already visited Earth and that this contact is linked to the origins of human culture came to prominence at the back-end of the 60s. They’ve been heavily criticised for their unsubstantiated nature by, among others, the respected scientist Carl Sagan . A similar charge of simplistic naivety could be levelled at this suite of songs, but there’s no denying their quaint and quirky charms.

In keeping with the theme, of both album and label, this is a decidedly backwards- looking futurism, where fuzzy Moogs and burbling electronic brooks get heavy on the analogue, providing easy- listening facsimiles of what those in the past thought we’d be listening to in years to come (erm... maybe that’s now?). If you get a buzz from the gauzy, retro-lounge aesthetic of groups such as Boards Of Canada and Plone, then there’s plenty here for you to savour.