Cruel Diagnosis
Ghosts [DL; Self-Released]

Everything feels weird, yet familiar when you return after a lengthy absence. But oftentimes, it’s best to point out what’s changed rather than focus on the nostalgia of the moment.

It’s with this regard I approached the return of Brad Rose, thee of many monikers (The North Sea one of the last, also one-time proprietor of exquisite taste via his dormant Digitalis label). Much like myself, Rose was peeled away by a new life: a family, academic pursuits, and the flow of everyday life that many of us take for granted. And yet, Rose found his way back to the world of the musical living, albeit under a new name (Cruel Diagnosis) and yet still haunted by what was in his past. Ghosts is a 13-year reflection as Rose’s life transformed, and the music within this documentation does much to demonstrate that rolling tide of influence and impatience. Lengthy folk ragas intermingle with adroitly constructed synthetic towers of sonic power. Any yet it’s the electro-mood of “Slow-moving Infection” that I keep returning to. Its programmed pragmatism; the world has changed and with it a disease that has worked its way into all of us at a glacial, seductive pace, now fully blossoming.

We can’t go back — what’s done is done. The personal life Rose built for his family and a career outside of musical exploits is what matters now, and with this sentiment I find myself in full agreement and happy compliance as well. But much like those of us who are creatives (such as Rose) and those of us who often stridently pretend (such as your faithful narrator), we can never truly abandon the spirits of our past; those energetic specters causing us to believe in electronic voice phenomena when in reality we are in a bout of apophenia. That Rose has returned has little to do with his past or his present, but rather the voice within him that has always looked to the future. Whether that has guided him to write fiction, nurse a label, or express a musical muse, I’m glad that no matter what spooked Rose in his time away has caused him to return to his roots at least for one more good haunting.


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