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Psychedelic/Space Rock • Japan

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Ghost picture
Ghost biography
Japanese band surfing on the psych-kraut / free jazz / electro-droning waves. Some very inspired moments and a good sense of interpretation. Snuff Box Immanence, Tune In, Turn On, Free Tibet and Ghost are all accomplished, colourful stoned rock essays.

The band's live album/dvd released in 2007 is truly something, an improvisational event of sound and light. It must be experienced.

Sadly, in an August 3 2014 Facebook post, Masaki Batoh announced the official disbanding of Ghost after 30 years. He thanked everyone and told Ghost fans to look for his solo album along with a new band called The Silence.

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GHOST discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

GHOST top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.38 | 8 ratings
4.13 | 8 ratings
Second Time Around
3.69 | 7 ratings
Temple Stone
4.01 | 13 ratings
Lama Rabi Rabi
3.90 | 10 ratings
Snuffbox Immanence
4.00 | 6 ratings
Tune In, Turn On, Free Tibet
3.95 | 20 ratings
Hypnotic Underworld
3.50 | 9 ratings
In Stormy Nights

GHOST Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.89 | 6 ratings
Overture: Live in Nippon Yusen Soko 2006

GHOST Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

GHOST Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

GHOST Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

GHOST Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Hypnotic Underworld by GHOST album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.95 | 20 ratings

Hypnotic Underworld
Ghost Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars "Hypnotic Underworld" truly is a special album that will please all you Psychedelic fans out there. I like that there's some variety on here yet it doesn't drift from that Psychedelic sub-genre. We get mellotron on five tracks along with plenty of flute, electronics and sax. Very cool too that they cover a Syd Barrett tune along with an obscure EARTH & FIRE song.

"Hypnotic Underworld" is an interesting choice to start the album as it's a four piece suite worth around 24 minutes of music. Interesting because the majority of it is sparse and ambient bringing to mind Miles Davis but instead of trumpet it's the sax that is crying out on and off throughout Part 1. And while I thought of Miles right away this is much more Psychedelic and Haunting than Miles. Rumbling drums, sax and experimental sounds come and go during this 13 1/2 minute opening part. Part 2 is similar but we get a rhythm and also an Eastern vibe. Piano joins in later and it turns more intense as well. Part 3 opens with electronics and I like when it kicks in with a heavier sound and those MOODY BLUES-like backing vocals. Vocals follow as the backing vocals continue. Nice. Part 4 is less than a minute of an intense drum-led piece.

"Hazy Paradise" is a B-side of an EARTH & FIRE release and hazy is the word. It's like being stoned on a sunny day walking in a field. The vocals and sound are so uplifting. Love this song! Check out the guitar 2 minutes in and how good does this sound before 4 minutes with the mellotron, vocals, guitar and drums. Exhilarating! "Kiseichukan" features bass and intricate sounds including the sound of water as flute plays over top. The vocals are spoken. "Piper" has flute and little else in the ballad-like intro. There's a bit of Celtic vibe here with the tin flute. It kicks into gear a minute in with strummed guitar, organ, drum and more. It settles right down as the flute returns and vocals arrive, piano too. It kicks in again as contrasts continue. Love the aggressive guitar after 3 minutes as well as the mellotron a minute after that.

"Ganagmanag" is such a trippy tune that I can't help but think of the kings of trippy in AGITATION FREE. Love the sound here. The flute plays over top as they seem to just jam away. So good! Piano joins in before 2 1/2 minutes. The flute stops after 5 minutes changing the flavour here. Then the tempo picks up before 8 minutes. There's a UNIVERS ZERO vibe with that powerful and dark piano play. "Feed" is another excellent track that reminds me of FLOYD("Meddle") with the strummed guitar and psychedelic mood. Reserved vocals join in then it turns more powerful. I like this one a lot, especially when that opening theme is repeated each time. Mellotron late.

"Holy High" has tin flute and a Celtic flavour with plenty of energy. Vocals join in before a minute and it's either the flute or vocals leading the way but not both. Check out the mellotron late to end it as the flute and vocals have both stopped. "Dominoes/ Celebration For The Gray Days" is a Barrett cover from his second studio album. This is such a hazy tune and the vocals are relaxed like the song. A change though 3 1/2 minutes in as the soundscape starts to swirl as vocal melodies can be heard. Kind of cool actually. Deep pulsating sounds join in before 5 minutes followed by heavy drums as it continues to build. Great tune!

This was my favourite album to listen to last week, it just fills that psychedelic area of my brain otherwise known as the black hole. Fvourite songs include the opening suite along with "Hazy Paradise" and "Feed". Japan has had many great Psychedelic bands since the late sixties but GHOST might be the best of them all.

 Lama Rabi Rabi by GHOST album cover Studio Album, 1996
4.01 | 13 ratings

Lama Rabi Rabi
Ghost Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by HolyMoly
Special Collaborator Retired Admin

4 stars The Japanese psychedelic folk band Ghost is at its best on this album, their third, released in 1996. Acoustic guitarist/vocalist Masaki Batoh is the spiritual leader of this very spiritual band, always at the center of a sound that varies from quiet and pastoral to loud and aggressive on this album. The most dominant instruments are hand percussion, flutes, acoustic guitar, and piano, to varying degrees from number to number. A band that comes to mind that is similar would be Jade Warrior, especially on their early instrumentals. The wonderful thing about Ghost is how they sound like they were plucked out of another age and dimension... the kind of music you can imagine floating through the air in ancient times. And I believe that of all their albums, this one achieves that sound the best.

"Mastillah" opens the album as a perfect mood setter, floating and drifting. "RabiRabi" carries the same drifting feeling but with a much more aggressive, stormy arrangement with loud electric bass, searing electric guitar feedback and insistent chanting. "Into the Alley" takes things back down, as Batoh gives us a simple sung ballad on acoustic guitar. "Marrakech" goes back into darker realms with a distorted singing voice and plodding rhythm on acoustic instruments. "Who Found a Lost Rose in the Warship?" sounds like a long lost folk song incorporating banjo, jews harp and either a recorder or a piccolo, along with a sad sung melody. "Mex Square Blue" keeps the banjo going, with a recorder melody taking the lead.

"My Hump is a Shell" is one of the most striking numbers here, a brief instrumental duet between acoustic guitar and Theremin, really really pretty stuff. "Bad Bone" is the most rock-oriented song here, with a memorable bass riff carrying the song along. "Abyssinia" brings in a sitar (I only wish there was more sitar on this album) and another very distinctly Eastern folk melody in the vocals. "Agate Scape", the nearly 11-minute penultimate track, is a wonderful display of building intensity and tension. It begins as a gentle folk ballad with acoustic guitar, bells, and piano - but around the three minute mark, it very slowly builds layers of instruments, slowly gets louder, and slowly adds dissonance over the course of several instrumental minutes, before returning to the quiet beginning. The final track, "Summer's Ashen Fable", concludes the album with a gentle piano-led folk melody, quietly bringing things to a close.

Although there is a good variety of sounds on this album, as well as a good mix of loud and quiet numbers, once you've heard the first minute or so of any track, you're not going to be surprised by the rest of it. Despite the occasional aggressive moments, this is more of a meditative album than anything else. But in that capacity, this is one of the more seductive and emotional albums I've come across in recent years. Masaki Batoh is a visionary musician seemingly transported from another age, and he has led Ghost to a near-masterpiece here. Falls short of five stars only because a few of the songs sound a little too similar to other songs on the album, but this is still one to check out if you love acoustic psychedelia or Eastern folk music.

 Temple Stone by GHOST album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.69 | 7 ratings

Temple Stone
Ghost Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by HolyMoly
Special Collaborator Retired Admin

3 stars Ghost are an inspired psychedelic acoustic folk band from Japan, led by acoustic guitarist/singer Masaki Batoh. While their later material incorporated more electric instruments and spacey improvisations, this is Ghost in their early days, playing the kind of ancient spiritual music reminiscent of the original Amon Duul band. Temple Stone is their third release, nominally a "live album", but actually more of a re visitation of some of their early repertoire in a new setting, namely an actual temple. To my ears, this is the way this kind of music was meant to be heard; compared to the original renditions on their first two albums, these versions feel MUCH more warm and authentic. In fact, the arrangements are so different, they may as well be all new songs.

Using the ambiance of the temple as almost its own instrument, the band takes advantage of the natural feel of the room with reverberating acoustic guitars, impassioned vocals, lots of flutes, what sounds like a bowed bass, occasional piano, and hand percussion. This is the music you might expect to overhear if you were passing by a Buddhist temple. This is Spirit Music; it's the real thing.

For the most part, the songs themselves aren't particularly stunning, but the mood they create cannot be denied. My absolute favorite is "Moungod Asleep", a very simple number with a repeating piano figure (absent in the original version on the debut album) and a simple folk melody that imparts a deep sense of spiritual longing. Things occasionally get pretty chaotic, as on the track "Blood Red River", in which free-form banging on pianos, percussion (including real drums this time) gone awry, and shrieking vocals create a disturbing atmosphere. But for the most part, the album is meditative, mellow, and melancholy.

 Overture: Live in Nippon Yusen Soko 2006 by GHOST album cover Live, 2007
4.89 | 6 ratings

Overture: Live in Nippon Yusen Soko 2006
Ghost Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant, Crossover & Neo Teams

5 stars What a sacred, solemn, but weird atmosphere this is!

Please forget our long experience about psychedelic / space rock scene. When Jim Russell aka Finnforest introduce this band to me (THANKS JIM!), the name of this band could let me chill. At first, I think a Japanese GHOST should not be a phantom or a vision but a spirit itself. GHOST always reminds me the Japanese religious history, that we must believe and take care of the dead spirits. For the dead some of Japanese everyday read OKYO (a religious sutra) and believe that the dead spirits in another world should always support us now living here. This concert is not like a typical one but full of ANOTHER atmosphere.

Well look at the sleeve and you can find a monotone Great Buddha image (DAIBUTSU in Japanese). Now we should be knocked out by the spiritual sleeve and image. As ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE shows on their sleeves, a Great Buddha is a great symbol of all Buddhist and most of our (Japanese) minds. Please listen, and feel...basically awesome, solemn percussions can encircle us. About 5 minutes later, a shamisen (Japanese banjo), wabue (Japanese flute) and bells can make thier sounds heavier and deeper. In such a eccentric music, weird percussive sounds should be alive. Gradually our palpitation with the atmosphere should be greater and greater. Even electric guitars or keyboards, as everyone thinks as typical instruments for rock music, can be noise shooters or storytellers of GHOST. I consider totally this long track can't be called as a song but can be defined as an illusion. There are lots of Japanese instruments as above mentioned, in that especially wabue and various percussions should make this track serious and seraphic. And a piano coming here after 17 minutes can push this sounds toward an upper stage. Electric sounds should NOT be self-assertive or in front of all instruments. Here they should be only noises with adding some solemn flavour. In the middle part avantgarde and sharply noisy explosion can fly and blow over our head. In another world we can't realize what happen but can feel cold, keen-edged, and GHOSTLY wind. Over the noisy society GHOSTs can fly and dance elegantly...I always feel with listening to this track. Someone may say over 56 minute song should be boring. However, I can not think so. YES, this track is not a song but a wind or an air, and should make our heart palpitate as an earthquake, at least for me. Indeed there's no Mokugyo (Buddhistic percussion) or Rin (Buddhistic bell) but every percussion can play each religious part. Furthermore each instrument, without assertion, can support this track under the earth. (Even a saxophone or another horn can play on the background as one of their collaborators.) I'm sure everyone joining the concert should be happy with jumping and tripping over ANOTHER WORLD. Now I can a bit feel this fantastic and awesome atmosphere. I'm very happy. Really, really I can't breathe till the last piano vibrations...

This album is, I wanna say, exactly another Japanese psychedelic culture.

 Temple Stone by GHOST album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.69 | 7 ratings

Temple Stone
Ghost Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by AmericanProgster

5 stars Temple Stone is actually Ghost's first live album. Live in a sense that there is no audience but all songs are performed outside a studio. I do believe that half the songs are recorded in a church and the other half being recorded in a Buddhist temple.

This album is amazing. Ghost is very similar to Gentle Giant when it comes to playing live, their live songs compared to the studio versions are lightyears apart!

The main attraction for this album is the wonderful improvisations thrown throughout the ten songs. The best track off this album is the mournful, and simply beautiful, version of Guru in the Echo (which is usually fast paced and chock full of energy).

Temple Stone is, in my opinion, an essential piece of prog (along with the entire Ghost catalog!).

5 Stars


 Overture: Live in Nippon Yusen Soko 2006 by GHOST album cover Live, 2007
4.89 | 6 ratings

Overture: Live in Nippon Yusen Soko 2006
Ghost Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Stunning progressive visual document

Without question one of the most original, progressive titles released in 2007. This is an audio and video (cd/dvd) psychedelic event that will blow the minds of anyone interested in avant-garde, psych, or space music. I say music, not rock, because this is not rock and roll. It is experimental sound. Understand this is not a normal concert. It is an event as bizarre as a drug trip, as a UFO light show from '67 London. Total, unfettered improvisation. Here is what went down. The band rented a large warehouse and each member set up their instruments far away from one another. Then they hung these lace curtain dividers up between the members so that they could not make eye contact with one another. The audience was brought in to sit all around the band and the hall was darkened. On the lace curtains were projected images by a "liquid lighting team" and this visual art completely amplifies the mystery of the collective experience happening. Once in place, the doors were closed and the audience not allowed to move until the performance was over. It was really kind of spooky I'm sure as the cavernous hall created great reverberations in sound that added to the aura.

There were no written songs performed, there is no set list. "Overture" is one complete and total improvisation. The members had to come up with the evening's performance on the spot, listening to each other in the dark without being able to get the usual cues. Feeding off the energy of the crowd and trying to channel back and forth. It doesn't always work but it is fascinating. It is not loud or rocking for the most part. Most of the sounds are rather quiet and created by tabla, flute, acoustic guitar, lute, recorder, along with electric guitar, bass, drums, piano, bells. From the CD booklet: "This is nothing but a spiritual conversation between the members, which passes through the senses of the audience, thereby filling the space. The audience is an important "medium." The intention of the arrangement, positioning the players in parallel at a distance from one another, is to connect every member's sound image spiritually, as eye contact with one another is prevented. This is a meditative task. The primary acoustic feature of this space is the length of reverberation. Its tremendous reverberation of 13-15 seconds is the same as that of a limestone cave. Each feels the echo, or remaining spirit of the sound we might say, sensually and spiritually, and each overlaps his individual echo upon it."

The sounds you will hear are chaotic, frightening, dissonant, lost, wandering, rarely melodic, sometimes beautiful, always challenging. This is not for the faint of heart or someone looking for a good rocking time. It is for the very patient listener of unapologetic, slowly moving, pure improvisation. It is very difficult to offer any comparisons. It doesn't sound anything like Ummagumma, Rubycon, or free jazz in a traditional sense, but it possesses the spirit of all three at the same time. The lights literally breathe to life on the curtains as they roll and twist creating surreal silhouettes of the audience members. Images like lava lamps spill onto huge surfaces, a perfect flower appears on a wall above your head, images of people suddenly appear on the support columns, designs of all kinds are constantly changing with the music very slowly. So fantastic are the visual images that they are as important as the music itself. It's for people who want to lay on the living room floor alone and take in this experience on the television (and is presented in 5.1 surround dvd as well as stereo.) This is not a DVD you want to watch with other people unless you are certain they will sit still and shut up for 90 minutes.

It is very hard to be surprised by an album anymore, to be caught off guard, to see something unlike anything you've ever seen before. Ghost has managed to pull off a free-from visual rave as bizarre as Laurie Anderson's "Home of the Brave." In the end, the wonder of the event plays out like a beautiful religious service more than a rock concert. It is a breathtaking event. Not everyone is going to like it, in fact quite a few will not. Yet, if daring explorations into improvisation are a pillar of progressive music, this must be considered a masterpiece. Just not the kind you'll sing along to in the car. And yes, this title has extremely low PSAF (progger spouse acceptance factor) so be warned.

 Lama Rabi Rabi by GHOST album cover Studio Album, 1996
4.01 | 13 ratings

Lama Rabi Rabi
Ghost Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars With this album, the Japanese group Ghost hints definitely and full Indian music and psychedelics. Indeed even down to the album title's calligraphy, the music of the album takes a very meditative role and

While the opening track does start to a very bucolic and pastoral start, it soon develops in a sort of Indian raga and seems to drag on slightly. Funnily enough, the first minutes of Rabi Rabi seem to take the theme of the opening track, but elevate to an almost violent rock music level, definitely contrasting Mastillah's insistent ethnic folklore. This second track is really one of the group's strongest ever, only topped by the lengthy title track Hypnotic Underground. Like most Ghost albums, there are some very uneven moments in this Lama album, like the loose folky/dopey Into The Alley, the slightly whimsy/hippy Mex Square Blue (with stepping drums), the heavy Bad Bone are all correct and entertaining, but the particularly irritating musical saw of My Hump Is A Shell, the boring closing Ashen Fable being much weaker. On the other side, the Zep/No Quarter-like Marrakech, at least at first, ending in a good almost jujuka groove, the banjo-laden Lost Rose and the sitar-track of Abyssinia (old-day Ethiopia) and Agate Scape are well above the average.

Still be a good freak-out album but relatively over-rated and usually hinted as the group's best effort, this writer would disagree and direct you towards the much more recent Underground album, with its stupendous title track. I'd say this one is best enjoyed with a big fat Jamaican doobie.

 Hypnotic Underworld by GHOST album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.95 | 20 ratings

Hypnotic Underworld
Ghost Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars With this album, the Japanese combo gets some major psychedelics in their second last (so far) offering. Fronted by an orange plastic spot colour sheet, the disc hides behind an impressive (as can be in those small formats) Japanese mythology artwork, the sextet has taken another dimension since Lamarabirabi, a few years back, but here the impressive epic title track is their strongest statement, yet. And there are other interesting items on the rest of the album, the closer in particular.

So the lengthy 5-movement title track is easily the highlight of the album, but at the same time it is a bit misleading as the slow ambient and gloomy (and beautiful) with much improvisation, is rather different than the seven tracks that follow it. After the 13- min+ opening movement God Has Taken (full of slow ambient atmospheres) and its 7-mins Medina, taking a slow Arabic feel under an oppressive dark beat that Anekdoten would easily call their own with a piano that Roger Trigaux would not disown Presently, but is close sonically to the first movement. The third (short) movement Barbarious Dawn is a solid change introducing some Porcupine Tree atmospheres with some choir-like layers and the even shorter Leave The World closes the debate abruptly.

After such a start, the next track can only disappoint, and they probably thought that placing a soppy ballad such as Hazy Paradise (loaded with mellotrons) would gets us to accept it, but it is not exactly a stinker either, it just pales in comparison to its neighbourhood. The Nippon-laden influenced Kiseichukan Nite gives cool folk note but the semi-whispering ghostly vocals are a bit of a "faux pas", IMHO. The flute intro of Ganagmanag leads an alternate loud/quiet/loud passage that makes this up-tempoed track a near-highlight of the album, with a searing guitar solo and a soaring flute in the background. But of course the nearly ten minute- long Feed is the second highlight of the album as its raga beat (tabla drums), deliciously light flute, and Eastern/Indian-sounding guitars give a post rock feel and the conventional drumming is reminiscent of Paatos's Huxflux. Holy High is another Porcupine - sounding track just like Dominoes is, while Celebrations For Gray Days closes the album in a dramatic, tense and grandiose manner.

 Lama Rabi Rabi by GHOST album cover Studio Album, 1996
4.01 | 13 ratings

Lama Rabi Rabi
Ghost Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars GHOST blend Japanese Folk music with their own brand of psychedelic haze.This is mostly ambient and slow paced with flute, guitar and percussion leading the way.

"Masttillah" opens with various sounds including flute and percussion as it sort of meanders along. "Raburabi" is more uptempo and we get some chanted vocal melodies that come and go. Vocals come in as well as flute, percussion and guitar. "Into The Alley" features vocals, synths and acoustic guitar. "Marrakech" has some processed vocals, percussion and strummed guitar. This one has a good rhythm to it as flute comes in followed by guitar. "Who Found A Lost Rose In The Warship ?" is somewhat catchy. "Mex Square Blue" has a good beat with flute. "My Hump Is A Shell" has some theremin in it which surprised me to say the least.This gives the song a real spacey vibe. Acoustic guitar and piano lead the rest of the way.

"Bad Bone" has processed vocals, screaming sax and percussion. "Abyssinia" has some cricket-like sounds, vocals and acoustic guitar. This is a slow moving song with an Eastern flavour. "Agate Scape" is my favourite. It starts slowly but builds in intensity before relaxing again. This is the best part of the entire album, it's so dreamy and laid back with the strongest vocal performance as well. "Summer's Ashen Fable" is a mellow track with vocals that remind me of the band THE USE OF ASHES. The song ends with the sound of a thunderstorm.

I have the same feelings for this album as I do for the TORTOISE albums I have heard. I really admire Chamberry's review for his enthusiasm that I wish I shared. Although I would like to go for a walk in the woods listening to this record. Music for the mind. 4 stars.

 Hypnotic Underworld by GHOST album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.95 | 20 ratings

Hypnotic Underworld
Ghost Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars A tale of two albums? Don't judge it based on track 1! The long 4-part title track comprising the first chunk of the album is about 23 minutes of occasionally dissonant noise-scapes and droning play. To some this will be a deal breaker right off the bat, so it took some guts to open with that. If you like weird droning pieces with effects this will be right up your alley. If you hate that sort of thing just hit skip and the balance of the album moves to very different places indeed. Very rewarding places.

After this piece the album shifts to far more accessible space rock which utilizes vocals, rhythm section work, and plenty of odd little environmental sounds, instruments, embellishment. "Hazy Paradise" is perfectly named as that is where the melody and lush guitar work will bring you. "Kite" is a very nice piece with spoken word Japanese narration and bass. "Piper" is the most conventional track, be aware that if you listen to that streamed track here you are not getting a complete picture of this release. Some of the other songs are way more varied and adventurous. "Ganagmanag" reminds me of a long Third Ear Band jam that serves to bring some grounding to the wild palette of things going on here. "Feed" reminded me of pre-Dark Side Pink Floyd especially with the guitar work. "Holy High" has a spirited folksy feel to it with acoustic guitar and flute. Unlike so many albums today clocking in at over 70 minutes, Ghost actually makes use of the time to take you to several different landscapes. This is my first Ghost album, it won't be my last.

The fold-out artwork is spectacular and I'd hang it on my wall if not for the darn CD fold creases.

HU is a very interesting album for people with eclectic tastes dying for relief from what they play on a daily basis. It really grows on you. At first spin I couldn't wait to shut it off. Now I find it to be a definite keeper. If you are musically adventurous try this one out. 3.5 stars and climbing.

Thanks to Black Velvet/finnforest for the artist addition.

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