Abi Bliss, Plan B:
May '08

Review of The Advisory Circle Other Channels

Don't believe what your parents tell you the real Sixties and Seventies were all about chase scenes involving Routemaster buses and bowler hated criminal masterminds; zero-gravity orgies under binary star sunsets, and futuristic consumables that merely to gaze upon would caress away the dust from the minds eye, unleashing lysergic rainbows. At least, thatís how it was if you were a piece of library music.

If the past few years have seen compilations such as Barry 7ís Connectors pay tribute to that optimistic world where there was a synth sound to describe every facet of modern life, Other Channels imagines its flipside. Instead of springing from the studio ready to swing in suburban sitcoms, gad around with adverts or spend a morning with the testcard girl, this could be the library music that was left on the shelf, forlornly gathering dust with only the paranoid mutterings of public information films for company.

 The Ghost Box ethos is one of hauntology, reanimating the lost promises of new towns, atomic technology and postwar utopianism as ghosts to join with an older England of folklore and paganism. But having previously fished around in the collective nostalgia pool in his King Of Woolworths guise, here Jon Brooks flees to the suburban fringes of the label's fictional epicentre, Belbury, holing himself up in a fortress of analogue synths. Inside is refuge from the brave new world where the crisply paternal voices who deliver links between educational programming and those warning of impending nuclear attack~ "Civil Defence is Common Sense" are chillingly similar. Mogadon Coffee Morning blinks repeatedly in an attempt to focus upon snippets of gossip and talk of soft furnishings, but is lured away by woozy noodling that spirals languidly like synchronised swimming for the unconscious. You're not even safe inside your mind, though: Fire, Damp St Air, suggests a psyche infiltrated by TV films, where bereft yet sickly strings battle with consoling clarinets for the emotional high ground.