Just for the record: ‘Ghosteen’ the Nick Cave machine


Just for the record: ‘Ghosteen’ the Nick Cave machine

A fortnightly review of music on vinyl

Andrew Donaldson

It’s October, it’s Halloween, so it must be Nick Cave who, with his band, The Bad Seeds, has produced the most haunted, hallucinatory album of the year. Ghosteen (Ghosteen Ltd) completes a trilogy of sorts; like its predecessors, 2013’s Push The Sky Away and 2016’s Skeleton Tree, this double LP set continues an exploration away from a traditional rock format into territories dominated by electronic orchestration in tones that reflect the personal tragedy that lies at its heart.

Much of the critical response to Skeleton Tree was framed by the death of Cave’s 15-year-old son, Arthur, in 2015. But the bulk of that album had been written before his son’s fatal fall from cliffs near his home in Brighton, England, and after its release he continued to process his grief and anguish in a most revelatory, artistic manner. 

First, there was Andrew Dominik’s stark and raw documentary, One More Time With Feeling, which accompanied the release of Skeleton Tree and dealt with the aftermath of Arthur’s death. He also started Red Hand Files, an ask-me-anything online forum in which he fielded questions from fans, while candidly dealing with his own state of mind. It made for extraordinary reading, more confessional than advice column. Here, for example, is his part of his response to “How long will I be alone?”, a query that is almost impossible to answer:..

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