Throughout his debut LP, Ghost Culture keeps his cool. The London-based producer — who goes only by his stage name — looses a whole vault of pristine booby traps for his vocals to explore: glossy beats, daring melodies, and throbs of warm analog bass. His songs take root in the deep electronic underground of the late 20th century, but he’s not shy about nodding to the mainstream pop that ultimately gobbled those roots up. You can hear streaks of early house all over Ghost Culture; you can also hear Depeche Mode.
Ghost Culture isn’t quite the disconik Todd Terje is, but he’s possessed of the same joy that coursed through Terje’s It’s Album Time last year. At the same time, he welcomes some of the dread that permeated Andy Stott’s last two albums. “How strange — I’m satisfied,” he muses on the blooming single “Giudecca”. “I’m laughing at everything/ Let it go, leave it be.” His voice stays muted and earthen, yet the song catches sparks at the tips of his words.
“Arms” dares to take a long riff as its spine, a slowly escalating melodic bite that might propel a Mogwai song. And Ghost Culture’s steady vocal phrasing on “Glass” might sound safe if it weren’t for the glittery beat that threatens to fall apart behind him. As a producer, this emerging talent thrives on dangerous, surprising turns. But as a singer, he’s not too shy to round out warm, whole moments. It’s a winning combination from a new voice.
Essential Tracks: “Giudecca”, “Arms”, and “Glass”