Unsurprisingly, Ghosts is a demanding journey through the dark side of Henke's computer wizardry. It begins with the title track—a stormy drum & bass session with an eerie vocal line—but the unnerving vibe really creeps in with the countless little creatures of "Toku," which emerge underneath a hypnotic set of high-frequency whistles.
Like Silence, most of Ghosts' tracks weigh in at less than six minutes—continuing a shift away from the lengthy soundscapes of prior Monolake works—and both albums spend most of their time swung quite heavily at 140 BPM. Compared to Silence, however, the tools that Henke now employs cut even deeper, as evidenced in the deliciously crisp growls and vocal cascades of "Hitting the Surface," and "The Existence of Time," whose sub-bass grinds away like a maniacal floor buffer.
Henke is no stranger to ambient-oriented excursions (check Silence's romantic centerpiece "Void," for example), and Ghosts is at its most haunting when the beat drops away completely, as on "Phenomenon" and "Unstable Matter." The former leads off with a dubwise bass riff that slowly disappears under a chorus of anxious, otherworldly moans. Then there's "Unstable Matter," whose twisted found-sound elements create what might just be one of Monlake's most suspense-laden tracks ever.
"Foreign Object" closes out the album; made mere hours before being sent off for mastering, it's a thrilling conclusion that should leave listeners on the brink of exhaustion. Escape is the working title for the third and final part of this album trilogy, and it's sure to be eagerly anticipated, whenever it comes out. Until then, we have another excellent long player to savor from Monolake.