Scottish-born poet and musician GhostStory. delves deep into the impact mental health can have on our relationships – both with ourselves and those around us – in his latest release ‘The Re-Dream Trilogy’. The EP explores this, social stigma and more through three incredibly candid tracks: ‘Re-Dream’, ‘The Attempt’ and ‘Section II (Raw)’.
Hailing from a small town just outside Dundee, the now Manchester-based artist (real name Spencer Mason) is no stranger to the topic of mental health. Last year, he successfully published a collection of poetry and prose titled ‘Other Tongues’ about his own experiences with Schizoaffective Disorder. Wanting to create something which detailed not only the struggles and inner conflict, but how to function alongside it, how to live with it. Giving an accessible insight for those loved ones who are perhaps in the sphere of the condition without having their own personal understanding.
‘The Re-Dream Trilogy’ feels like an extension of this quest, Mason describing it as covering “mental health, the self, the others, the cultural damages of doubt and dissent”. Known for mixing genres including electronica, hip hop and of course the punk energy he first dealt in – GhostStory. certainly takes the heavier approach this time around. While still poetically driven, the lyrics are often ferociously delivered backed with digital hardcore soundscapes. As with previous releases ‘Spartan’ and ‘Prometheus’ this year, there’s an abrasive quality to GhostStory.’s material. A frankness that is almost disarming. Through the use of looped electronic effects and distorted vocals we’re transported into the eye of the storm – from the shifts in mood, psychosis, suicidal thoughts, insomnia and addiction.
Opening, ‘Re-Dream’ wakes you like the blaring of an alarm clock, a cacophony of static and strings create a building sense of tension. With punchy percussion, a buzzy reverbed bassline and vocals which twist and warp throughout the track like auditory hallucinations. “Never to be safe from the voices in my head”
Filled with frenetic energy, second track ‘The Attempt’ feels like a downward spiral. Aggressive, distorted and screamed vocals speak of lack of self-esteem and sense of self as frenzied guitars hurtle you along on this bumpy ride. Sonically reminiscent of Frank Carter’s work with Gallows/The Rattlesnakes and perhaps Enter Shikari’s earlier material. Despite the dark subject matter, it’s definitely the track that would go off live. “A useless waste of time and space”
Closing out the EP is the hypnotic ‘Section II (Raw)’. From a slow start, Mason proceeds to stack multiple vocals (spoken word, clean and harsh) and these steadily pick up the pace getting faster and faster. Complete with twirling guitar licks and thudding percussion, it evokes that moment when insomnia takes hold and your anxious mind won’t stop racing. “Nothing makes me sleep like chamomile and diazepam”
A remarkable example of alternative free-form from a neurodivergent perspective. It’s upfront, highly-charged and haunting, and to be honest, it leaves you feeling a bit uncomfortable. But that’s what a good GhostStory. does after all.