Sam Davies, The Wire
July 2011

Hintermass
Study Series 05: The Open Songbook
 
Jonny Trunk
Study Series 06: Animation And Interpretation

Ghost Box’s Study Series of 7" EPs, each featuring two acts either taking a side a piece or co-writing over both, has been one of the label's highpoints. The small scale format suits the Ghost Box aesthetic its playful reconstructions have always had something of the train set or the miniature about them. instalments one and four in particular: Belbury Poly with Moon Wiring Club began the series with two perfectly turned tracks that were the sound of hiphop as made by labcoat-wearing car boot sale raiders. The fourth, continuing Broadcast and The Focus Group's collaboration, was a stunning set of oneiric interweavings, sounds dislocated until they settled into an alien harmony all their own, parallel to the norm.

The latest in the series come from Jonny Trunk and new act Hinterland. Trunk‘s EP mines familiar sources, piecing together Radiophonic Workshop textures into grooves paradoxically both ponderous and springy. As if being mixed down from a reel to reel held together only by string and double sided sticky tape, there’s an enjoyable sense they could fall apart at any
time. A collaboration between Tim Felton of Seeland and Jon Brooks of The Advisory Circle, Hintermass sounds almost too Ghost Box, what with its name splicing together hinterland and Quatermass. But the music is unexpectedly straight: two pop songs, honey clear and shampoo-glossy, with the uncanny to retro balance tilted back towards St Etienne levels. For that reason, it might well be the weirdest Ghost Box of all.