Waves and Stars is currently a one-man studio project by Jeffrey Calvin. He recently completed a DIY effort entitled In The Presence Of Ghosts. The album is dark in terms of lyrics, music and overall themes. Calvin reinforces ideas of loss, regret and sadness. He describes the creative process as a way of getting it out of his system but I can’t really say it has the same effect of the listener. The dark feelings he instills don’t really ever feel like they are balanced with any light.
The most obvious comparison to Calvin’s music is Joy Division. Calvin implements similar synths sounds, structure and overall feel. To be particular this sounds like Joy Division when they play “The Eternal” not “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” Like Ian Curtis’ vocal style Calvin’s is monotone throughout most of the album. I don’t mind this style of singing but it sometimes feels a bit too similar to Curtis.
In The Presence Of Ghosts has a number of production issues. The songs sound pretty respectable when there aren't a lot of elements but the mix can become narrow and bury Calvin’s vocals when he adds a number of instruments. The biggest issue is that it needs to be properly mastered. I had to constantly reach for my volume knob, as there was a huge difference in volume between certain songs.
“In The Presence Of Ghosts” is the opening track and also one of the highlights. Calvin strikes a decent balance between darkness and energy. “Devastation” is a slow burning near suicidal type song. Try not to slit your wrists before it’s over. He sings the lines, “This will be the last time that we speak,” “there is nothing I can say or do anymore” and “say goodbye forever.” Like I said earlier more “The Eternal” than anything else and if you like that space this song breathes in then you will be in some kind of dark bliss.
Calvin may be dark but that doesn’t mean he can’t pick up the energy. “Seven Names” has a kinetic drumbeat that plows through his monotone vocal style and that works out quite nicely.
In The Presence Of Ghosts has pockets of inspiration but also is hampered with poor production and songs that sound to derivative from certain artists. Calvin has skill; he just needs to hone it a bit better and establish some of his own essence on his next release.
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook