Heine Christensen (the man behind the ‘ghost and tape’ moniker) and I have been friends for a number of years now, and I’ve been a fan ever since I discovered his first self-titled release for Akira Kosemura’s superb Schole label quite randomly in a record store in Tokyo while admiring the artwork. I ended up buying this based on the art alone, and immediately went back the next day to buy the only other album I could find by him, ‘Home’.
The music of ghost and tape is deeply intricate, and so careful is he in the work he does, this marks only his fourth studio album since his debut back in 2010. I’ve always admired people who take their time with their music for they appreciate the finer details and seem to understand music as a timeless quantity. This is a sadly rare quality now as things come and go, but in line with Home Normal’s ethos is a belief that truly lasting music must in its very nature have a certain timelessness that transcends whatever maybe ‘in’ at a particular moment in time.
‘This album is inspired by and a tribute to Nature, in all its wonderful chaos; pure and forceful with mystifying, beautiful patterns. The word 'Vár' itself means spring, and originates in Old Norse, symbolising a new beginning, a chance to start fresh.’ - Heine Christensen
These words resonate so clearly with how the album rests with me. The album is so natural and gentle, much like the first days of spring as things awaken and feel renewed. ‘Pure and forceful with mystifying, beautiful patterns.’ I don’t think you could get a more apt description than this to describe such a work. This is ambient music as its most thoughtful and tender; so carefully crafted and worked, with purpose in each and every twist and turn. Indeed, this album is the very definition of what we have aimed to do as a label over the past eight years, and I am so thankful to be releasing a work of such fragile beauty as to define who we are and what we stand for. So here we have a work by ghost and tape, an album pure, forceful, mystifying, and beautiful.
All music written, recorded and produced by Heine Christensen
Mastered by James Plotkin
Photography by Hitoshi Ishihara (attic photograph - http:/attic.cc)
Layout and design by Jason van Wyk and Ian Hawgood
All rights reserved.
'Lush and radiant waves of sound wash over ghost and tape’s “Vár”. The soft hues neatly balance ambient with glitch-laden effects done perfectly. With drones framing the entirety of the album at times it recalls Tim Hecker’s colorful warm work. Pieces ebb and flow throughout in a blissful haze. Best of all these songs feel ideally suited for a shoegaze like take, the way they seem to drift off into the air. Melodies exist at the very heart of every piece with little textural elements added to great effect. Songs play off each other while maintaining a clear and distinctly childlike sense of wonder.' Beach Sloth
'Das Album selbst befasst sich mit der Natur und ihrem allumfassenden Chaos. Der Begriff Vár stammt aus dem Alt-Nordischen, bedeutet übersetzt Frühling und symbolisiert einen Neuanfang.' ferienlagerstimmung
'Warm and organic soundscapes.' Norman Records
'Ambient certo ma trasmutato in rugiada che bagna il passo, profumo di bosco, rumore di acqua, nebbia che dirada evaporando verso un cielo che tutto racchiude. Vàr è ciò a cui tutti noi tendiamo, qualcosa che difficilmente ormai fa parte del nostro andare quotidiano: l’armonia. Bisogna averne molta per riuscire ad esternarla mantenendo intatti i suoi preziosissimi colori. Sembra che Heine Christensen in arte Ghost and Tape sappia come raccoglierla, distribuendola con tutta la calma possibile, adagiando piano piano le decine di textures contenute nella composizione sopra un tappeto di impercettibili droni che profumano di dolcezza, semplice delicata dolcezza.' Sherwood
'The music is like a signet’s ballet upon silver, sun-dappled water…water that, like the melody itself, looks translucent, shimmering in the late afternoon light. Thin notes ripple outwards, not wanting to cause much of a stir, and its introverted music gazes out from a pair of shy, bright eyes, its rose-tinted cheeks all aglow. Its healthy and natural sounds help to detox the soul, giving it a deep cleansing. Lily-pads recline on the ambient surface; the roots of nearby willows (melodies) are deep and entrenched. But the sound itself is sparse, promoting an air of peace rather than being caught up in a tangle of twigs.' Fluid Radio
'A truly beautiful release on the Home Normal label, “Vár” is a hypnotic collection of moving, delicate ambient music.' Bandcamp (Album of the Week)
'ゆったりと漂う穏やかで優しいメロディのシンセ、ほんのりと霞んだ柔らかいシンセのドローンなどの浮遊感のあるサウンドと、そのまどろみのサウンドの中で微かに鳴らされる微細なノイズ〜エレクトロニクス、ギター〜シンセの断片的な五月雨のフレーズなどをレイヤードした、ウォーミー&ドリーミーなミニマル・アンビエント〜ドローン・サウンド' Linus Records
'Che si tratti di loop armonici morbidamente adagiati in forma di coltri ipnotiche, di incastri tra placide risonanze o ancora di pullulanti granuli sonori, “Vár” dispiega oltre quaranta minuti di estatici incanti elettro-acustici, il cui carattere estremamente carezzevole non discende da alcun artificio romantico, bensì dalla sola cura dei dettagli discendente da uno spontaneo approccio naturalistico.' Music Won't Save You
'Vár is like a comforter, wrapping itself around me as the snow falls outside, quietly reassuring me that spring will come again.' Piano & Coffee (Monthly Recommendation)
'Fragile, but strong at the same time – optimistic about the new start and the promises it hides.' Ambient Blog
'The music is meditative and slow taking its time to unfurl and gently reveal itself with a depth of layers...“Vár” is a trip down the sun soaked dappled miniatures of Ghost and Tape and lives up to both his history and that of Home Normal’s class of 2017.' Drifting, Almost Falling
'The purity of its sound makes it a really delightful listening experience. A rare quality nowadays.' Chain D.L.K.
'There's a wonder within Vár, a dreamlike wonder.' Periwinkle Hear and Now
'Melody winding and rising out of a mist of drone, hum and static. Birdsong and clock chimes in a near transparent haze of fizzing electronics...transcendent like Eno`s Ascent.' Ban Ban Ton Ton
'It is a warm, delicate, open-hearted ambient album that sounds matches some of the warm, patient qualities of Parker’s work. It is an album of intense detail and careful attention to the whole experience. The album art is some of the most fitting I’ve seen on a record this year: the colors are bright yet sun-dappled, the petals floating away convey a weightless feeling, and the image looks very sharp but starts to get a little soft as you get closer and closer. These are all apt descriptions of the music itself, from the drone of “Eostre” to the sound recording of walking through a forest (“hatch”) to the ocean waves and synth waves of closer “Seabird.” This is a beautifully calming record, a place to clear your mind and be made aware of the beauty around you. If you’re not into ambient music, this is a great place to start learning about how ambient can be amazing.' Independent Clauses
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