Fisher, Fact Magazine
Review of The Focus Group We are all Pan's People
We are all Panís People is almost too perfect a Focus
Group title, what with its allusions to both the dance
troupe from 1970s Top of the Pops and Weird author Arthur
Machenís masterpiece, The Great God Pan. Transforming
kitsch into the eldritch is the alchemical art at which the
Focus Group excel, and We Are All Panís People puts you in
mind of the now empty Top of the Pops
studio being used as the site for a sťance. The ghosts of
an old BBC - patrician voices intoning poetry, the
Radiophonic workshop, anonymous jazz-funksters, wind-blown
Folkies, spaced-out Psych Rockers - are summoned and invited
to cavort in an unlikely rite. The Sixties and Seventies are
not so much remembered as re-dreamt. The tracks are a series
of oneiric fragments, glued together by techniques of
audio-adhesion that are foregrounded, never concealed.
Instead of smoothly looping their samples, the Focus Group
cubistically cut them into odd angles that never resolve
into recognizable geometries. A miasmic reverb hangs over
the album, a concretisation of the Focus Groupís great
fixation: reverberation, vibrations that persist.
Ghost Box are Weird England in exile. Each release gives us
another glimpse into their alternative Albion (one track
here is titled, aptly, ĎAlbion Festival Reportí).
Panís People is
punctuated by logotonesí, station idents for alt.
Albionís regional TV franchises, and
television the old Dr Who, Nigel Kneale, Open University -
remains central to the Ghost Box synaesthetic. Ghost Box is
an audio-visual label; hearing the Focus Group or Belbury
Poly without Julian Houseís sumptuous sleeve designs is to
be deprived of a web of associations, triggers and textual
clues which build as the Ghost Box catalogue expands. In an
age of download disposability, Ghost Box revive the
collector in us. Donít miss out on this one.