"... Narrated by classical guitar ambiences, along with Anne Taft's soaring operatic vocal registers, produces a powerful combination, occasionally of theatrical proportions. From subtle and delicate to electrifying in her purity of tone Taft's select placement within arrangements consolidate the album's concept. . . " Russell Welton, Acoustic Magazine
" Having released the excellent Particle Theory earlier this year with his band, Neil Campbell is back with something entirely different. Whereas that disc had been upbeat space fusion, Ghost Stories has much more subdued approach concentrating mainly on classical guitar...... Also appearing on Particle Theory, Anne Taft lends her beautiful soprano voice to this project as well. The wordless vocals add a powerful expression to the music. Folk out there that are familiar with Karda Estra might also want to look into this album. The approach is very similar in many ways..... This is a very beautiful set of songs .... For those of you out there who like stuff like the lighter side of Steve Hackett, Anthony Phillips and the previously mentioned Karda Estra, this music is definitely worth investigating." - www.progressiveears.com
"Neil Campbell's intelligent fusion disc Particle Theory was reviewed earlier in FAME, but this is a complete departure from it, straying quite broadly into classical territory while slipping in a bit of neoclassicism via light touches of electro-acoustics.... (t)he effect is that of dreary beauty, somnolent and age-ridden, harking back to antiquity and heightened Edwardian morés, silent and proper... if you're fond of new classical works setting heavily on the moody horizon, this is music to read Poe by…or Wuthering Heights…or The Scarlet Letter…" - Mark Tucker, FAME Acoustic Music Reviews
"Only a few months after the release of the Collective's second album Neil Campbell is back on stage this time accompanied by two different musicians : Michael Beiert (a German electro-acoustic composer) and Anne Taft (soprano). Ghost Stories, born out of the coming together of this trio, is an album which is just as deeply sensitive as it is intensly delicate. Based around the classical guitar the 4 compositions (30, 4, 3 and 2 minutes in length) arouse visions of impressionistic paintings as well as a dreamy atmosphere created by Anne Taft's hazy vocals. Ghost Stories itself (which at times has a hint of the acoustic works of Steve Hackett or Anthony Phillips as well as groups such as Karda Estra) is a first class néo-classical work: a delicious nocturnal ballad in search of harmless yet enchanting ghosts." www.cosmosmusic.fr (translated from the french by Paul Vaughan)
"Listening to Ghost Stories is like attending a séance with Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, it makes one feel a bit uneasy with its rapprochement to the spiritual hereafter, but also relaxed, by allowing one to focus on the approaching infinite eternity......With flamingoesque guitar solos by Neil Campbell, and (dare I say) ghostly vocals by Anne Taft, it’s especially the eerie synthesizer soundscapes by Michael Beiert produce the appropriate effect. Ghost Stories is an impressive, transcendent, work of art. It brings us, the living, in closer contact with the realm of the dead." Gary Levinson, www.indiemusicreview.net
"yet again another fine release from Neil Campbell, who as yet has not failed to impress with his releases... Superb stuff once again... 7.5/10", Bob Mulvey, Dutch Progressive Rock Pages
"Over the streaming sibilance of the wind comes a delicate guitar melody - clear fingering, virtuoso classical style, moody of nature. Wordless vocalisations from singer Anne Taft add to the crepuscular atmosphere - effortless soarings and ethereal meanderings that hang in the air ... Neil's deft instrumentation has Spanish elements in the delivery, elegantly plucked melodies atop secondary patterns that ring with a comfortable clarity that belies the dexterity needed for such beautiful form." Morpheus Music Reviews at www.electronicmusicmall.com
"For a timeless thirty-eight minutes and forty-eight seconds this atmospheric arrangement of unfolding melody suspended me. In a place of repetitive melancholy and ecstatic peace of mind you can venture in perpetual balance. The chord trickling beauty of this harmonious sound will slip discreetly into your alpha, beta and theta states and whence there, hold you transcendentally...This music is part of a journey and those who choose to indulge will indefinitely be pleasured on many planes. Listen and lose the self in delicate repetition and then return to a point of remembrance and acknowledgment." Alicia Rose, Nerve (www.catalystmedia.org.uk)
"Neil Campbell impressed a Classic Rock Society audience recently with his acoustic guitar prowess and here is further evidence of a massive talent, especially in the more classical field ..... an impressive album for the more thoughtful musical mind" McCullough Crane, Classic Rock Society
"As I listen to this, I imagine grey clouds whirring by in stop-motion frenzy, or a vampire crying as the October sun rises. This is simply so romantic and resonant. A perfect album for quiet nights alone with the soul. "Ghost Stories" manages to be ambient, instrumental, and goth all rolled in one. Highly recommended." Gary Flanagan, Nightwaves - http://nightwaveswebsite.tripod.com//id16.html
"If [Ghost Stories] had been released during the heyday of Progressive or even in the ‘80s, I would have rated it as a merely good output. Nowadays, however, such honest, well-labored, efforts as this one are like preciously rare black lambs in a gigantic flock of cloned white Dollies (please take this as a metaphor) and are more than welcome. Imagine the main storyline of ['Shadow of the Heirophant'] from “Voyage of the Acolyte” and mix it up with everything-on-“Momentum” by the same Mr. Hackett, and if you like what you get as a result of these, your mental operations, I earnestly recommend you to have this disc among others in your collection. 5/6 stars" Vitaly Menshikov, Progressor.net
"... a shimmering, atmospheric cluster of works with a ghostly theme ... Anne's soaring voice floats over the shards of arpeggios and layered electronics, on occasion warm and appealing, yet sometimes more ominous and foreboding in keeping with the spirit of the album. Eerie shapes and shadows are evoked until the presence of a spirit seems nigh. Superbly constructed." Musician, the Journal of the Musician's Union
"Neil is an accomplished classical guitarist who has a tender touch on the instrument and successfully evokes the various moods of evening and night-time reflections and experiences through dreamy sequences and tasteful melodies. Anne Taft's voice is soothing and emotive and comfortably enhances the lyrical guitar as the 30 minute suite opens up from Beiert's gentle atmosphere to a floating sensation created by voice and guitar. . . ", Richard Barnes, Sea of Tranquility
The composer and classical guitarist Neil Campbell has followed a number of seemingly divergent musical paths throughout his musical career including free improviser, singer songwriter, systems music composer, band leader and virtuoso guitar soloist.
In 1998 he simultaneously became involved with the free improvisation scene and the acoustic scene in Liverpool. Around this time he also began postgraduate studies in Music through the University of Liverpool.
Through his MA studies he developed an approach to music making based around musical systems or processes which run automatically without 'composerly' intervention. This has resulted in the production of an ongoing body of work, much of which has been recorded and has received airplay on BBC Radio 3's Late Junction. The albums documenting this work are 'Rotations' (2003) and the 3 CD set 'Assembly' (2005). Neil's work in this area continues with a large scale collaboration with Jon Anderson (leader of the progressive rock band Yes) and with the recording of several new compositions.
Over the last three years Neil has poured his activities as a composer, songwriter and performer into work with the Neil Campbell Collective which has evolved in terms of band membership and approach from a singer-songwriter duo to a full blown band playing ever more complex compositions.
In May 2005 the Neil Campbell Collective released their first album '3 O'Clock Sky' (2005), which was a critical success. The band's music following release of this first album has focused on developing an ever more complex musical language and band interplay, almost leaving standard song structures behind in the process.
The band's second album 'Particle Theory', released in early 2008, features an eclectic range of musical styles and sonic diversions and features a wealth of wonderful guest musicians (including Anne Taft). It has recieved incredible critical acclaim from progressive and experimental rock commentators and reviewers.
After twenty-five years of playing, a virtuoso classical guitarist, Neil has produced two CDs of solo guitar music 'Through the Looking Glass' (Mayfield 2003) and 'Night Sketches' (2004) and a book of Music for Solo Guitar. He has also recorded, with cellist Nicole Collarbone, a CD of Music for Cello and Guitar - 'Fall' (2006) and an album of songs in collaboration with Stuart Todd, entitled 'Campbell Todd' (2007).
All of his recorded output listed above is available through CD Baby either as CD or for digital download (or both).
Neil's new album 'Ghost Stories' (a collaboration with Michael Beiert and Anne Taft) is the spiritual follow up to his 2004 album 'Night Sketches'. Like 'Night Sketches' it is evocative of the night with its dreamy atmospheres and haunting melodies. On 'Ghost Stories', added to Neil's moody and introspective classical guitar playing, are soundscapes by German electro-acoustic composer Michael Beiert and soaring wordless vocals by soprano Anne Taft.
The impressionistic 'Ghost Stories' is presented in a number of short 2-4 minute movements which are segued together by an ongoing soundscape to form a seamless musical experience which takes the listener on a journey through the course of the night into the following dawn.
An emotional experience, the music from the album is to be presented throughout 2008/9 in a series of concerts and multimedia events which will vary from performance to performance in their inclusion of experimental film, visual arts, contemporary dance and narration - the aim being to open the work up to collaboration from all fields and fully explore the scope and atmosphere of the music. The album's launch date is, appropriately, Halloween night (31st Oct 2008)- the setting: an inner city church in European Capital of Culture Liverpool.
Anne Taft – Anne Taft is a Liverpool born singer/songwriter. She trained at the Guildhall School of Music before embarking on a professional career in musical theatre. Following the birth of her daughter (who is now 18!) Anne returned to her roots, where she took up her position as head of singing at Liverpool Community College. She has continued to work as a freelance singer and enjoys working across many genres from the acclaimed Carole King tribute band 'Tapestry' to the fabulous 1980's disco phenomena 'Fantasy' and her own family band, 'The Tafts' who are no strangers to the Liverpool folk music scene. Her work as a vocalist demonstrates a phenomenal range. She contributed a powerful wordless soprano section on the 'Particle Theory' album and continues to work with Neil on his recent 'Ghost Stories' collaboration (also with Michael Beiert).
Michael Beiert - Hailing from Cologne, Germany, Michael Beiert is now a Liverpool based composer specializing in Electro-acoustic Music. Recent projects include a collaborative piece for amplified oboe, amplified tap dancer and live electronics featuring American dancer Sally Crawford which had its premiere at the Liverpool Cornerstone Festival in 2007. Michael won the 2005 Rector's Prize for Composition at Liverpool Hope University for an acousmatic composition, which has served as motivation to embark on a PhD programme at Liverpool University from September 2008. Michael has been working as a lecturer in Music Technology at Liverpool Hope University since 2005. He is collaborating with Neil and Anne Taft on their 'Ghost Stories' recording and live performance project.