Mark Fisher, Fact Magazine
April 2007
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.