Taking as its inspiration the John Carpenter film of the same name, Ghosts On Mars is the latest project of London-based keyboardist Mark Jenkins, who has been running the AMP label for over 20 years now as well as continuing to produce his own blend of melodic/rhythmic electronic music that has been alternately inspired by Tangerine Dream, Mike Oldfield & Jan Hammer.
'Something Dancing....' sees him trying his hand at a form of danceable, melodic music that artists such as Sound Force & Synthetik were doing some 12 years ago. Indeed, it's heart lies very much in the 90s & titles such as 'Trance Dance' are likely to prove rather cringe-inducing to anyone familiar with the more cutting edge of current electronica-after all, that's just sooo 90s, darling! (at least the one island he was influenced by was Mykonos rather than Ayia Napa or Ibiza, that wouldn't have worked at all!). So while I can't imagine this setting the modern club scene alight, sounding quaint rather than dynamic, it might serve as a decent chill-down affair for those of a more nostalgic frame of mind with some similarities to 808 State's more ambient offerings on the opening 'Moonbeams' where Mexican artist Alquimia adds her own distinctive vocals. Alternating between ethereal wordless voice or sensual spoken Spanish voice her contribution does bring the spectre of Enigma uncomfortably to mind but this is actually a worthwhile combination that again proves its worth during 'Reunited' which is the one track that could possibly be a surprise clubhit (I'd also love to hear an old-skool synthpop remix of this track!!) & once again during the robust & surprisingly upbeat 'I'm Haunted' which further benefits from some hot synthleads, the likes of which have long since been Jenkins' stock-in-trade.
Elsewhere 'Alien Nation' builds from an attention-grabbing bassline via some rolling rhythms & consistently engaging melodic work which is one of the album's greatest assets, witness 'Phobos & Deimos Dancing' which benefits from some pretty furious synth/guitar riffing (Mark is actually a far better guitarist than he gives himself credit for!) while 'Cyborg Shuffle' is another lively & enjoyable piece with some Giorgio Moroder-like touches in the sequencing.
So while any dance music afficionadoes may find this pleasant rather than essential listening Jenkins' melodic skills ensure that there's always something worthwhile going on to engage the senses & make this a worthwhile release.
Artist Link: http://www.markjenkins.net