The Ghost of An Alien is one of the monikers used by Mike Waller, who also records drifting drone ambient as Seconds Before Awakening. On Dust. Time.. Gravity…, which is the last album he’s putting out under this name, he heads into the cold, dark stretches of space and dedicates it to the crew of the ill-fated shuttle Columbia. This is a reasonably weighty album, pulling up short of the depressive pall of real dark ambient, drawn in low-end drones and airy whispers. There are some heavy moments early on, by which I mean that the bass notes are thick and forward, coming in a borderline snarl. But I find myself getting drawn in more when Waller dials that back and focuses on a sense of stripped-down barrenness. The combined impact of “Polar Distance Displaced” and “Space Junk in the Trunk” (great title!) comes from their minimal construction. Long, quiet drones, the endless sigh of space-wind across an empty void, a feeling of being apart. Waller laces “Space Junk…” with a hint of phrasing that appears first, slow and spacey, near the beginning, then comes back later more concretely, like an intercepted transmission. These tracks form a 20-minute block of drone-based washes in which to lose yourself. The eerie, echoing spaces in “Always Looking Up” almost feel lighter, but retain a bit of a jarring edge.
The seven tracks fold together well to give the impression of a single continuous flow. Nothing ever really strives to impress, but it’s all consistent in tone, smooth in its darkness, and never crushingly oppressive. I’ve used the term grey ambient before for music that decidedly leans toward darkness but doesn’t cross the border. This would be that, an unimposing but quire listenable journey into a well-drawn, shadowy space.
Available at archive.org.