Mount Shrine‘s second solo effort, out on Oregon’s Cryo Chamber, is on a perpetual journey, moving from inner suburbia to remote areas of serenity.
Disembodied and unrecognizable voices come through on a radio with bad reception. Within the levitating atmosphere, static fills the air; it’s a broken transmission.
Something happened here.
The brooding drones, which are sometimes eerie, reveal husks at street level; shells of vacant buildings and empty streets result in nothing-places and towns of absence, putting into sound the imminence of dusk. Ghosts On Broken Pavement guides the listener through an ancient and mysterious place, revered and imposing, but now abandoned for reasons unknown.
From the haunting, rain-drenched “Gray-Tinged Suburbs” and the close, suffocating rumblings of its industrialized world, to the calmer “Outsider Station” and “Empty Slopes”, Ghosts on Broken Pavement is music to accompany a one-way trip, passing through a series of sleepy suburbs until it reaches the mountain, its very own nirvana, and the peace of its apex. Mentally, it drifts away from things: society, pressure, the city, and even people, becoming a reclusive refugee. The atmosphere can be gloomy, darkening in particular on “Inescapable Rain”, but the darkness never presses upon the listener to uncomfortable degrees, and it doesn’t define the record.
The field recordings of the rain, which falls and spatters against the roof in a muddied tone, go well with the deep bass frequencies and the subdued, blue harmonies. The drones are pervasive and immortal, shrouding the listener in a dense covering of cloud even at such a high altitude. It’s perfect for meditation, but it does feed on gray clouds.
The expansive field recordings and clouded harmonies help one to unwind, producing a meditative offering. While this happens, an ever-present, deep sub-bass rumbles in the distance, adding a dense tonal fog to the music and its misty mountains. Ghosts on Broken Pavements is streamlined ambient, although the crackles and radio static of “Outsider Station” give rise to eerie feelings and an empty platform. No one is around. Rain continues to fall. It hangs in the air, permeating and perfuming every note with its damp air. Listeners will find themselves wanting to return to this retreat time and time again. (James Catchpole)