The name Ghost Stations (Geisterbahnhöfe in German) refers to the abandoned metro stations of London and Berlin. Those in London were shut down at various points during the 20th century and remain closed. You can see their traces – ox blood red arched facades revealed here and there at street level or phantom platforms glimpsed through the shadows as you rumble through tunnels at speed. The Berlin stations were closed during the Cold War period, keeping silent vigil in the no-mans-land between East and West before being reopened after reunification.
The music on Ghost Stations finds Dollboy conjuring the haunted spirit of these stations, basing his atmospherically charged compositions on field recordings captured at sites on both the U-bahn and the London Underground. As he says in the accompanying notes: “I have tried to imagine the spirits of those that might have passed through: commuters, revellers, spies, worshipers and the decaying remnants of ghostly dance orchestras.”
The results are nothing less than sublime; the music (actually a melting together of 12 individual tracks, each inspired by one or other of the titular stations) unfurling in one long, dream-like ‘train ride’ suite through the psycho-geography of two cities whose ambiguous histories remain immutably bound up with notions of ‘the underground’. It’s a curious but compellingly procession through an echoing mosaic of half-heard parlour pianos, gauzy electronics, mournful trumpets, preternatural throbs and even a baroque fragment of The Rolling Stones’ She’s A Rainbow, blown into our ears through tunnels of yesteryear. It’s eerily beautiful in the subtle, yet emotionally charged manner of Gavin Bryars’ The Sinking of the Titanic or Brian Eno’s On Land, yet, for all that, a unique and compelling sound world that’s all its own.
Dollboy is the alias of London-based musical polymath Oliver Cherer who has released three albums (of both electronic music and more orthodox song-based material) under that moniker for the likes of Different Drummer, Arable and Static Caravan, as well as a host of other collaborations and projects. He is a regular on the stages of the Big Chill, the Green Man Festival and their ilk.
Ghost Stations / Geisterbahnhöfe was originally released in 2010 (the third release on Second Language) as a ltd edition of 150 CD albums. It has been deleted until now. This re-issue has completely new artwork and comes in a 6 panel concertina format.
1. Down Street
2. York Road
3. South Kentish Town
4. British Museum
5. Brompton Road
6. Bull & Bush
8. Warschauer Strasse
10. Potsdamer Platz
11. Oranienburger Strasse
12. Unter Den LInden