Ghost Box

Author: admin | Published: 7/8/07

ghost box

ghost box

ghost box

ghost box

Artist: The Focus Group, Belbury Poly
Album: Hey Let Loose Your Love, The Owl’s Map
Label: Ghost Box

Year: 2005/6
Designer: Julian House
Type of music: Analogue electronics
Notes: I ordered these CDs via the Ghost Box website and had only seen the booklets reproduced in The Wire. They’re gorgeous pieces of design: self-conscious and resonant in equal parts, courtesy of the hugely talented Julian House who’s done so much wonderful work for Intro. I hadn’t seen the physical packaging before, but 110% expected to receive three covetable card digipaks. Imagine my disappointment when, upon opening the bubble-wrapped envelope, I found standard plastic jewel cases:

ghost box

When stacked together, as above, there’s some suggestion of a newly minted ’60s modernist housing project. But mostly the inability for this packaging to age more or less gracefully, unlike the music it contains which is so deliberately refracted through the prism of time, is a major let-down. Even the paper stock of the booklets is, to my mind, too glossy for its purpose. I originally posted about these designs on my personal blog, to which Justin commented that the original releases were CDRs and Gutterbreakz pointed out that the ideal format by far for Ghost Box would be vinyl. Imagine the thick card sleeves they’d come in and they’d preferably have magically acquired record library lending sheets and rubber stamps…


  1. […] Gutterbreakz blog. Delicious retro 7″ styling (5 tracks per side!), not a million miles from Ghost Box, but more unassumingly […]

  2. i just checked out this page…
    I wholly agree on what you have to say about the CD packaging…
    Thankfully Ghost Box has finally gotten round to releasing vinyl (Study Series singles and their first 3″ CDs)… I hope they’ll be releasing mor of their back catalogue in this format… Gutterbreakz is so right.


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    Comment by japanese forms — August 27, 2010 @ 11:10 am
  3. I believe they’re intending to. They’re just about to reissue their first release on vinyl.

    Comment by Colin — August 28, 2010 @ 7:53 am
  4. hey, colin

    their “first release on vinyl” came out a few months back.


    there’s another one (belbury poly farmer’s angle revised edition on 10″) coming out on September 10th.


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    Comment by japanese forms — August 28, 2010 @ 12:33 pm
  5. Hello there, I covered Mind How You Go back in March. I was referring to the vinyl reissue of Farmer’s Angle.

    Comment by Colin — August 28, 2010 @ 8:03 pm
  6. OK, Colin


    You’re a man of taste.

    Comment by japanese forms — September 3, 2010 @ 11:03 am
  7. Has the new CD Version of the new Belbury pole the same lame Packaging as the ones above?

    Comment by dwef — September 15, 2010 @ 6:06 pm
  8. I agree about the CD packaging. Without a spine, they look incomplete and they are difficult to scan visually because there is no title on the spine. Yet, they take up more space than a cardboard sleeve because of a jewel case that really isn’t being used. The laminate on the cover is somehow bubbling on one of my Ghost Box CDs. The paint job on the disc face doesn’t look professional either, but rather it’s overly thick. I’ve seen the “home made on the cheap as art” approach work before in design, but that’s rarely the case. It fails here and looks shoddy. That’s too bad because the music on my Advisory Circle CDs is of excellent quality and deserves better.

    Comment by Gavin — March 8, 2011 @ 12:55 pm
  9. Hello Gavin, I think the vinyl editions are better produced, but, yes, they should have gone the Mo’Wax route of Japanese-style miniature card CD sleeves from the beginning.

    Comment by Colin — March 11, 2011 @ 10:47 pm
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