Last sighted in 1995, the new album by UK electronic quartet emerges on November 11th.
The 1995 debut album by the Kent-based electronic quartet Code, ‘The Architect’, was released on the Third Mind label just as that company folded, but has often been cited as a cult classic. Its follow-up, ‘Ghost Ship’, has certainly been a long time coming but finally arrives after a 25-year journey and will be available on vinyl and digital formats via the Lo-Tek Audio Ltd imprint.
‘Ghost Ship’ is bursting with the group’s trademark sound, combining beautiful and haunting melodies with a romantic techno intensity. Exquisitely produced, it mixes excellent songs with elegant, emotional instrumentals and charts a course that sweeps from the deep-space electro bleeps of ‘Origin’ to the deep waters of ‘Breathe Slow’ and ‘Love Perfection’, via the dark urban club pulses of ‘The Building’ and ‘Midnight” to its final destination on the wave-washed beaches of ‘Marin Headlands’ on the US west coast. There is even a welcome reappearance of their 1991 debut single ‘Light Years’ (a favorite of John Peel, Colin Faver and Colin Dale), rebooted yet remaining true to its industrial techno roots.
Those familiar with Code's previous output will also hear echoes of their ‘505’ EP, as well as the often epic sounding ‘Grand Architect’, ‘Cities’ and ‘Criminals’ EPs issued prior to ‘The Architect’. Adored by those in the know yet receiving scant attention in the UK’s mainstream media at the time of their original release, they have stood the test of time and sound as fresh as the output of 90’s contemporaries such as Orbital, Leftfield, Underworld and The Orb. Tracks from that era have also belatedly been licensed to electronic dance and chill-out compilations, including fan favorite ‘Parsifal’ opening a side of vinyl that also included The Black Dog and Sandoz on 2018’s ‘The Sound Of Love International’.
Discussing how the new album came about after such a lengthy hiatus, as well as its title, the band explains that “we had recently been approached simultaneously by two labels regarding a reissue of ‘The Architect’ that made us consider revisiting material from just after its recording that had been left behind. At the same time, the MV Alta cargo ship washed up intact on the coast of Ireland after disappearing over a year before en route to Haiti. The ‘adrift in time’ analogy appealed to us, and hence the title ‘Ghost Ship’.”
In regard to the time period encompassed by the new album, they state: “From 1996 (following the completion of their superb instrumental album 'Deco', released under the name Mortal and also supported by John Peel, John Digweed and other DJs) to around 2001 when commitments elsewhere forced us to archive the material on hard drives. We have actually salvaged hours of material that was largely in great shape and needed minimal adjustment.”
Indeed, despite the fact that most of this material has been mothballed for over two decades, it sounds like it could have been recorded yesterday. In reconstructing it, they conclude that “the original sequencing and arrangement programmes are lost in time and the sampling hardware is no longer available either, so all these tracks are constructed from the stereo mixes. Like salvaged treasure, the original audio was perfectly preserved digitally. The melodic and textural content was already there, it was a question of remaining faithful to the original recordings, editing and layering and in some cases adding new parts.”