9 Oct 2017

Iglooghost - NEŌ WAX BLOOM (album review)

“Flying Lotus kept sneaking through my garden and eating my garbage at exactly 2:32 AM every night, so I threatened him with a switchblade and he offered me a record deal right then and there on a parchment made of goatskin. I had to sign in the blood of a hooven beast which he actually had the nerve to make me find myself. After all the gruesome logistics were sorted out, I made this stupid ass album and now it’s coming out “ – Iglooghost in an interview with Passion of the Weiss 2017

It’s a Saturday night, the majority of London’s dance depraved self-righteous IDM fans are either stroking their chin surrounded by ecstasy pinging 20 somethings or trawling through YouTube looking for rare Boards of Canada demos. Not me however, I’m neither of these things, I’m asleep and I’m having the most bizarre dream. I’m loitering with friends in a neighbour’s garden when I’m startled by pounding gun shots... I look up to see my university librarian holding an air rifle. I hop over the fence to my own garden, at this point my friends have completely vanished. I slip down the alley at the side of my house towards the front garden. However I’m confronted by none other than Chelsea winger Eden Hazard holding a taser I immediately swivel and make my way back into my house and lock the door. The empty feeling which comes with true fear swarms my body completely as the armed man shatters the glass door frame. I reach for a yellow bottle of bleach with unscrew the lid and throw it towards his face, but somehow miss from point blank range. It’s at this moment somewhat of a cliché in dreams I wake up.

Relief, I’m alive! After I’ve shaken the feeling of bewilderment I look to my phone and remember what I’d been listening to before bed. I’d somehow fallen asleep with the new record from Seamus Malliagh aka Iglooghost, allowing it to ping through my ear drums and reverberate through my bloodstream as I slept. I had drifted off purely through fatigue but the record I’m sure played a huge part in my vivid nightmare.

The narrative Of Neo Wax Bloom and my dream aren’t that similar at a glance, but they both share common traits, for one both storylines are naff and amateur. My dream is a shit b-rate 90s horror movie. Neo Wax Bloom is a b-rate 90s arcade game. They are both also reliant on your experience and interactivity. My dream wasn’t scary for you if weren’t there and 90s video games aren’t fun to watch! If you are unaware of the album’s story arc the vinyl version comes complete with a comic book telling the story of a euphorically cute world which looks exactly how Iglooghost’s songs sound. The harmony of the world is disrupted by a pair of Giant Eyes straight from the lazy oaf catalogue.

Malliagh as an artist presents himself as a true product of the hyper cuteness In which Lazy Oaf is somewhat of a master in 21st century counter culture He sports brands like this and Unif and borrows religiously from glossy almost parody over produced styles of PC music.

This album feels as though it could be a single 41 minute track or 41 minute long cuts. Truly feeling like a video game soundtrack which could work easily which would work perfectly with visuals of the LSD emulator PS1. The tracks are all devoted to the charmingly silly concept which drives it. They are all so insanely charged it’s hard to describe them individually as there almost constantly shifting in speed and pitch. The Bug Thief is the pinnacle of what makes Iglooghost’s music so unignorable it’s a vibrant mixture of bubblegum trap and wonky music which also features a heavily modified sample from AJ Tracy. There is sugary and immensely cute pitch shifted vocal sample toward the end of the track, which is reused throughout the track lists which comes off as very beautiful.

There’s just enough curve balls to make it unnervingly precarious. It plays out like being on a rollercoaster with shirt breaks in which you aren’t being flung down a steep drop. The saxophones twist up the soundscapes and give the track a feel of DJ Paypal or even Brainfeeder’s founding father Flying Lotus. The incorporation of dreamy vocals from J-Pop star Cushee on Infinite Mint result in what is probably the album’s closest point to a slow burner a double helping of ear candy and Cushee sounds wonderful over the gentle lightly played marimba the closest the record comes to a slow burner. The standout amongst the teaser tracks White Gum, driven by a brain mashing bass line and chiptuned rap. It’s like a mash up of WHARFWHIT’s Elbows and Rustie’s City Star, resulting in a warped version of futuristic grime.

Solar Blade is track of two half’s the second half sounding like it could be a more colourful version of a track from Autechre’s Exai and the first like Sophie’s 2015 Compilation Product. Seamus Malliagh and Sophie’s similarities don’t end with their production style, both using the guise of a child while presenting themselves to the public Iglooghost being a self-described 11 year old and SOPHIE sounding like a primary school pupil Skream on Radio 1.

Although oozing with influence from PC music, UK wonky and his Brainfeeder counterparts Iglooghost’s music harkens all the way back to the 90s jungle particularly this track by Foul Play. Which sounds almost like an archetype for his signature sound.

The double of Purity Shards and Zen Chemp both open on an almost blissful style of marimba the former resulting in a blissful moment the latter falling into obscurity among the surrounding better tracks. Frequent collaborator Mr Yote returns for the stunning Teal Yomine /Olivine for one of the most addictive uses of beat syncopation of the decade. This track is the stunning pre climax of the album the paving the way for the already released Peanut Choker and the finale comes in the shape of God Grid a gargantuan track, in parts surpassing 220BPM this really feels like every single aspect of this albums production being thrown into a huge cauldron and exploding into a sea of vibrant smoke and bursting through the air waves.

I’d imagine this record is just as easy to hate as it is for me to love. Take it for what it is a caffeine drenched post- modern reimagining 90s jungle. Take it as Mentos and Coke. Take it as gloriously impeccable production. Its middle finger to song structure and brings new meaning to maximalist. It’s a record for old people to shake their heads at and call not real music and that in itself means it’s doing something right.


(Words by Aimee Armstrong)