Around here we have always had a soft spot for Ghost Box Records releases. A brand that, more than a record label, indicates a way of access to a dreamy and fairy-tale world. One of those places to visit enchanted, but careful to see the details, often sinister, that are hidden at the end of the field of vision: behind the curve of the eye or between blinks of eyelashes.
If the main figure of the label resides in the personal and non-calligraphic recovery of certain English library music, sedimented in the most inaccessible layers of the memory of the two founders (Jim Jupp aka Belbury Poly and Julian House aka Focus Group), between the moments more memorable than the catalog should also be noted the episodes in which this aesthetic has been able to combine with the Song.  

A marriage between the British label and the song form, which has produced fascinating works such as “Entropicalia” by Soundcarriers or Hintermass‘ masterpiece “The Apple Tree” and which in 2016 also welcomed Beautify Junkyards in its kind (and sometimes disturbing) frame. The Portuguese band, after two works in their homeland, released for Ghost Box first a double single (which ended up in the label’s collection “Other voices”) and then their third real album entitled “The Invisible World of Beautify Junkyards” in 2018. This album caused quite a stir thanks to its ability to translate the library and psychedelic beats, typical of the label, into a new and exotic Portuguese context.

Two years later, it is now the turn of “Cosmorama” to renew the spell. And it does so with a work that continues where “The Invisible World…” left off, setting up backdrops haunted by phantasmagoric sounds and layers of voices that force the ear to always look for the new detail. Enveloping ballads that are now colored by psychedelic moods, then by bucolic prog-folk scents, projected into the new century by the digital ripples of the rhythms.

It starts with the ghost of a flute in “Doubla Exposicao” that leads the dance and immediately invites to surrender, lulled by millimetrically calibrated evocative choirs:

Beautify Junkyards ::: Dupla Exposição (from the album "Cosmorama")

It’s incorporeal music to listen to with the unconscious rather than with the ears. The fantasies of “Reverie” evoke a fusion of folk delights and oriental spirituality without ever verging on caricature: part of the band’s charm lies in the ability to evoke ghosts of the past without ever replicating them but giving them a voice of their own and a sort of timelessness.

The lineup of the record seems to want a soft line that oscillates between the task of capturing the listener’s attention and that of making it fall back into the oblivion of the enchanting flow. The intense and suspended refrain of “The Sphinx”, the celestial intertwining between the voices of Joao Branco Kyron and the new member Martinez on a soft carpet of percussion in “Garden By The Sea”, the ancient melody framed by creaking vinyl and alien pulsations of “The Collector”, the bucolic dream folk of “Vali” guides us through the peaks and troughs of this sinusoidal and hypnotic trend. The irresistible mix of folk, oriental and tropicalism of “Parangole” stands out, sung by guest Nina Miranda, whose delightful voice we find again in the title track immersed in celestial arpeggios and an electronic beat, as pulsating as it is discreet. A rhythmic factor that shakes without interrupting the spell in songs such as “Deep Green”, a song with a high Broadcast gradation, and in the oneiric bazaar of “Zodiak Klub”. In the final track, “The fountain”, the resonant rhythm melts into an ethereal sound mixture of violin, harp (played by Eduardo Raon) and spoken word

The definition of the band as “a hallucinogenic fusion of Os Mutantes and Broadcast” is still damn effective to describe the long dreamlike flow that constitutes “Cosmorama”, in which the individual episodes of the mosaic seem to stand out from one moment to the other compared to the flow, only to be inexorably overwhelmed, along with the listener, whose only chance is to play again the album from the beginning.

P.S. We would like to point out that Helena Espvall, a formation member is an old acquaintance of ours. For those who love psychedelic folk, we recommend listening to some of the records in which the Swedish musician, who is a real globetrotter, is involved; we are talking in particular about the first two records by the American Espers and the two albums with Masaki Batoh, best known for being the leader of the Japanese band Ghost