Review: Igloo Ghost - Chinese Nü Yr

Wildly creative and compelling ideas from the latest Brainfeeder signing

Yung Iglooghost first came to our attention when he churned out the well-cooked hip-hop wompa entitled Peanut.smoker back in 2014, showing masterful flair for creating crispy saw-wave synths and off-kilter beats, nodding to the early work of pioneers like Slugabed, Shlohmo and Flylo. 

 

Needless to say, the guy generated some serious interest. Said interest was then peaked when he went on to put out a release on Slugabed's ludicrously dope Activia Benz label. He then, quite recently, posted a comment on his own youtube video, saying: "HI GUYS I WAS ABOUT 8 YEARS OLD WHEN I MADE THIS JUST SAYIN LOL OK COOL!!!!!!". 

 

That was when we knew we had a genius on our hands.

 

The 18 year old whippersnapper has just put out an EP via Brainfeeder entitled Chinese Nü Yr. A nifty overarching summary of this EP would be Chinese Nü Yr sounds exactly how Iglooghost types on his Twitter feed'. And, since we're talking about a guy who types uniquely in caps lock and puts kaojis at the end of every sentence, you know that it's going to be pretty intense. 

 

 

Xiangjiao kicks the EP off with a spaceship noise, fading in and out before squealing into a fast-paced footwork flex, incorporating scattered claps, intricate glockenspiel arpeggios and fading pads. Just over a minute into the tune come the first glimmers of sound which might deter the more discerning music heads, in the form of garbling humanoid samples which bring to mind Peppermint Butler from Adventure Time giving a speech in reverse whilst being punched in the tummy. Plenty of food for thought here...

 

Onto Mametchi / Usohachi, which utilises a whole range of PC music-esque features, including the voice of a young girl (or possibly Mr Yote pitched up?), toybox squeaks, and fuzzy synths. At first, all of this is somewhat difficult to stomach, but fast track to half way through the bit and Mr Yote's low-pitched verses cut through the madness, immediately lending a certain credibility to the chaos. It's at this point that you notice that half the elements coming at you actually have a grime tilt; those chimes could sit real nicely on a Murlo track, the squarewaves have some Iglew to them, and quite a few of the spirals are made of eski clicks. You've got to admire the imagination that has been applied here, Iglooghost takes all these musical tools completely out of context and relays them back to us in a way that makes them almost unrecognisable.

 

 

It could be argued that the point where we see Iglooghost at his most subdued is on Gold Coast, and the result is actually terrific. The real crowning point of this EP. The vocals are haunting, the beat is a deep rolling force, and the actual structure of the track takes the listener on a journey of sorts, traversing from a sombre funeral ground opening, through a divine ascending glass tunnel, ending up with the shattering of all the walls into a million tiny shards as the track decomposes. The distorted 808 kick is also nuts. Iglooghost's freaky musical tweaks actually sit very nicely on this track, a hint of what this boy is capable of making when he limits himself to half a pack of Haribo star mix during production instead of yamming five whole packs on the spot.

 

 

The final tune on this one is Peach Rift. Another bass-heavy roller with breakbeats leading the charge, this one puts you behind the wheel in one of those high octane space-racing games like F-Zero on the Snes. You can almost see the bright coloured jet engine thrusting you through little bright blue power ups as the track judders on, aglow with square synth pokes. As this one comes to a close, it's pretty clear why it was given the final spot on this collection; it closes with somewhat sombre looping soundscape strings and vocal samples with a broken voice speaking over the top, inviting the listener to a short period of reflection. This isn't a million miles away from Burial's interludes, and catches you completely off guard.

 

 

All in all then, Chinese Nü Yr is by no means an easy listen. Iglooghost's eccentric musical outbursts are somewhat unrelenting, and make this EP completely unsuitable as a backing track for 99% of social occasions. However, it must be said that all of this dude's quirkiness is ensconced between what are essentially beautiful layers of well-produced and refined production, with wildly creative and compelling ideas. Those who enjoy the aesthetics and dynamics of music form which pushes boundaries will really dig this one.

 

And let's be honest with each other for a second. How tiring has it been over the last few years to see one talented young producer after another 'get serious' about their music after being discovered and turn to styles of production which are dull as hell as an attempt to be sophisticated and relatable to mainstream electronic audiences? Here, in contrast, we have a guy who was dope at the age of 17 (perhaps at the age of 8, if his outburst is to be believed), and seems to be getting more and more nuts with each coming year. Like him or not, you gotta admit that shit is refreshing.

 

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