Stewart Lee, Sunday Times Culture Magazine
1st February 2009,

Review of From an Ancient Star, Belbury Poly 


Belbury Polyís Jim Jupp fashions analogue electronica under the spell of half-remembered, spooky 1970s childrenís television shows. From an Ancient Star echoes the crypto-archeological concerns of the classic 1976 HTV serial Children of the Stones, and, as with all the Ghost Box labelís releases, Julian Houseís stunning sleeve designs are inseparable from the music itself. Irradiated megaliths, warped algebra and quotes from HP Lovecraft, TS Eliot and a Miniature Railway Scenery manual combine to suggest that humankind is a pawn in some alien experiment, creating a mood that alters our perception of Juppís music. Banal melodies become compellingly sinister. Sampled recitations in received pronunciation are spliced to fit the rhythms of a cold, clean synthesizer. At times, as on the inanely jaunty, reggae-flavoured A Great Day Out, Jupp almost seems to be composing in character, conjuring the spirit of some frustrated BBC Radiophonic Workshop boffin obliged to appease a popular culture he does not care for. From an Ancient Starís blurred appropriation of the past will leave middle-aged listeners feeling delightfully disorientated and a little distressed, but will it mean anything to teens and twentysomethings? Who cares? Let them watch Skins.