Pye Corner Audio | Hollow Earth
Ghost Box (LP/CD/DL)
Analogue synth enthusiast Martin Jenkins returns to Ghost Box for a new album under his popular Pye Corner Audio alias. Following 2016’s “Stasis” album, our attention is pointed downward, deep into the empty chasms of the Earth. Where “Stasis” investigated themes of vast interstellar travel, this new LP seeks to address an inner exploration. Where PCA and the Ghost Box label both indulge notions of memory and nostalgia as aesthetic fixtures, “Hollow Earth” really runs with a physical, concrete version of this deep into the subterranean depths of the planet.
The title track opens the album on a high note, a funky head-nodder that feels like the listener is off on an audio adventure. There is a mellow electro, night-drive type vibe here, catchy synth chords and bass-lines propelling us forward. Harking back to classic electronic music yet charged with a modern sensibility.
“Descent” is a slower but no less bass-driven track, whose title is pretty on the nose, signaling that we’re on our way to an inner journey. But is it an inner journey into the Earth or a slow fall inward to ourselves? This thought cropped up during other points in the album, where titles played with more metaphorical ideas like “Mindshaft”, whose synth lines and arpeggios mesmerize and “Buried Memories” with it’s much more chilled Berlin synth approach escalating into something quite anthemic.
“Deeper Dreaming” again suggests this trip might be a metaphysical one. This track really stood out among the others on the album due to its beatless spaciness, ascending and descending synth chords lulling us into a tranced-out reverie. The most unabashedly ambient track here, it’s a beautiful segue into the final stages of the collection. The final track “Surfacing” is the perfect counterpart to the descent at the beginning of the album. Sequenced basslines rumble and push us on our ascent. Building into something really quite ecstatic and euphoric, moving onwards and upwards, the track’s positive energy feels like we’re seeing light at the end of the tunnel. During the last couple of minutes, the beats and basslines subside and a gorgeous analogue synth drone envelops us. We’ve completed the journey and returned to the familiar sunlight gleaming on the surface of the Earth, or is it back to the surface of our consciousness?