You’re too old, let go, it’s over
Nobody listens to techno. – Eminem, “Without Me”
I’ve really been digging the self-titled debut by London producer James Greenwood, who records as Ghost Culture. There must be something in the press materials about him being a Depeche Mode fan, because all the reviews I’ve seen seem to name-check DM.
Well, as a child of the eighties, I can say this:
Ghost Culture, I served with Depeche Mode. I knew Depeche Mode. Depeche Mode was a friend of mine.
Ghost Culture, you’re no Depeche Mode.
(But you are pretty great anyway!)
To my ear, it’s a murky, dark, bass-heavy hybrid of synthpop and techno with shades of Alex Smoke or Matthew Dear. There ARE vocals with real melodies here (he also does instrumental tracks, which are pretty much straight-up techno, but those aren’t on this album), which is maybe where people are getting the DM thing from – but DM emphasizes the vocal melodies and pop hooks just a little more, where here the vocals are slightly disembodied and distant – narcotized, sighing, somehow off.
Still, he has a nice voice – there’s some honest-to-God crooning on the album (see “Glaciers”).
This one seemingly throws LCD Soundsystem and Spiritualized into a blender. Simply terrific, I keep hearing more details each time I listen to it. I just can’t get it out of my head:
Maybe because DJ/dance culture is already a niche, and one that still prizes vinyl and the 12″ single, the death of physical media perhaps hasn’t hit them quite as hard; accordingly labels still maintain a prominent position as curators and indicators of quality. While digging around on the label that put this out (Phantasy), I discovered a record from 2013 that I am also loving, Daniel Avery’s Drone Logic.
This track seems to have a tiny bit of an electroclash (hey, remember that? Aren’t we a little early for the twenty-year revival cycle?) thing going on, the vocal samples reminding me of something off Felix Da Housecat’s Kittenz and Thee Glitz (which was itself an electro homage, and so on, and so forth…) There’s also some Plastikman-y acid squelching going on underneath. Very, very nice.
The whole thing is unabashedly sexy, and sounds GREAT on headphones (or, I suppose, gigantic speakers in a club, if you are into that sort of thing).
This one lays a shimmering metallic shoegaze noise on top of the beat for texture, an effect I almost always enjoy:
Haven’t heard the whole album yet (though dhex recommends it highly), but this is a nice little dreamy/jazzy number from the latest Andy Stott, with a great fan-edited vid for it.