‘When a pair of giant eyeballs crash into the strange, misty world of Mamu, the mysterious forces that govern nature itself are disrupted.’
This is the landscape within which Iglooghost’s debut album takes place. And this album comes off the back of his ‘Chinese Nu Year’ EP that was released back in 2015. In this new outing, the young producer seems to want to showcase his love for overarching artistic concepts, as well as cacophonously beautiful compositions.
Our first insight into this weird and wonderful world is the rhythmic hits of a very large cymbal. This is then accompanied by chirping voices that create a playful and melodious motif. We get the impression that this world known as Mamu will be a playful and childlike experience. But the voices soon become enveloped in a sinister bassline. And soon, the voices that were once innocent and pretty have become warped and distorted. The trademark sound of Iglooghost floods the track. We hear the breaking of glass, while mind-blowing synthesised cracks and whirls fill the landscape. The track ends with a spiralling guitar riff and a little bit of improvisational saxophone.
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‘Super Ink Burst’ doesn’t leave any time for contemplation at the start unlike the first track. It explodes with a descending saxophone riff while we are dropped into a maelstrom of melodic percussion. Vocals can be heard wailing behind the energetic instrumentation. It is hard to decide whether the saxophone is improvising over the rest of the track or vice versa. Such is the nature of Iglooghost’s production style: unpredictable, complex and rewarding.
‘Bug Thief’ is astounding. One-part brooding and euphoric and the other part jagged and visceral. It works perfectly and is so intense it’s hard to keep up at some points. At this point the listener realises that Iglooghost does not need vocals to steer and support his tracks. Little grime-influenced verses and beautifully harmonious vocals are weaved in each track as if they were just another instrument. Rather than achieve a prominence in the track, they bolster each song and disorientating the listener as they try and cling onto something linear and predictable to follow.
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The first few seconds of 4th track ‘Solar Blade’ amount to what must be some of the best production on the album. Firstly, sounding like another floating percussion riff that will give time for rest and recuperation, one of the biggest walls of bass ever conceived hits, flooding every frequency. The ferocity of the bass maintains its level throughout the song, while a high-pitched voice jabbers, seeming to half recite a nursery rhyme, and half spit a cold and unforgiving rap verse.
The album carries on in a similar vein from here. ‘White Gum’ has the energy and rawness of some of the earliest Grime outings. ‘Purity Shards’ almost gives the listener a break from the visceral percussion that has been rather a staple up to this point, a beautiful composition of chimes and synthesised little voices. And ‘Zen Champ’ is a juddering mesh of glitched instrumentation and sinister melodies.
‘Infinite Mint’ starts with a heavily affected voice whining and wavering, while huge bass hits flood the soundscape. Almost religious choirs sound in the background and a solemn violin can be heard at one point. Cuushe provides the subtle and solemn vocal line. The track seems to have five or six different objectives at once. The vocal line remains heart-wrenching, while the percussion seeks to use every sort of sound and feeling in its arsenal. Originality is the word that springs to mind. There is a true originality about everything on the album, every sound and riff is new and shiny.
‘Teal Yomi/Olivine’ is fast-paced as any of the other tracks, the vocal line glitches until almost out of control. The bass line moves and hits unpredictably and therefore keeps the listener on their toes. As the instrumental dissipates the listener hears the vocals clearly for the first time on the album. However all they find is that the lyrics sound almost as complex as the structures and composition already found on the album. There seemingly is no part of the album that is experienced with ease, but nearly all of it is rewarding.
‘Peanut Choker’ and ‘God Grid’ provide an excellent end to this vibrant and impressive album. Both tracks remind the listener of the producers astounding knack for melody, composition and layering.
Neō Wax Bloom track list….
1. Pale Eyes
2. Super Ink Burst
3. Bug Thief
4. Sōlar Blade
5. White Gum
6. Purity Shards
7. Zen Champ
8. Infinite Mint (feat. Cuushe)
9. Teal Yomi / Olivine (feat. Mr. Yote)
10. Peanut Choker
11. Göd Grid