Clear Tamei / Steel Mogu
Iglooghost (aka Seamus Malliagh) has been turning heads and confusing earbuds with his mutant brand of hip-hop beats, pop-laced IDM and high-pitched vocals, all violently skewed through a kaleidoscopic lens. In 2015, Chinese Nü Yr marked a turning point in the young British producer’s career (he was only 18), as his first release on Flying Lotus’s Brainfeeder label. Instead of a FlyLo-backed album, Malliagh has jettisoned the Brainfeeder family and given us a double EP in lieu of a full record.
Every Iglooghost release has its own narrative — too complicated to get into — centred around gelatinous worm-shaped creatures, a misty planet called Mamu, melon-coloured babies and laser battles. Whether or not these stories actually relate to the music in any real way is to be determined, but the offerings on this most recent celestial altar are superb from start to finish. Clear Tamei is plugged as the more melancholic of the two, but don’t let that fool you: it’s still a hailstorm of sonic crayons, albeit with some orchestral swaths thrown in. “Namā” shines through as Clear Tamei’s highlight, with soft xylophonic noises, quick guitar-sounding solos, and a firm dose of subsonic pummelling.
As you move on to Steel Mogu, the proceedings only get more bombastic. “Black Light Ultra” sounds like a
aplomb. (Nettwerk) FOLK ROCK rogue choir feverishly hammering a sampler, while “Mei Mode” and “Niteracer” come off like songs from the soundtrack of a seizure-inducing anime. We’re under no illusions here — this music is ridiculous — but we’ll be damned if it isn’t one of the most interesting things out there at the moment. (Independent)
Do the stories actually relate to tracks or are they just a fantastical backdrop?
All the songs are about the stories, but I want people to make up their own if they’ve got better ideas. I think it’s sick to have a little prompt, but I obviously want people to be able to fuck with this stuff, even if they don’t know about these dumb backstories. I know exactly what every second of each song is about, but I think it’s more fun to only give people a tiny glimpse.
You’ve used your little sister’s and your dad’s vocals on tracks. Anything like that for this new record?
I made my girlfriend learn a made-up language and scream loads of raps in it in a Lil Pump cadence, which is hidden on loads of the tracks. I really like getting people to record stuff where they don’t fully get what it is they have to do, and sort of go in hesitantly. I always like the naivety that comes from those sorts of recordings. That shit feels really cool and non-contrived.
frenzy of creation in the songs. Major Love wield energy with an electric bite: melodies twist catchy and Brown’s pophappy voice swoops into psychedelic undertones. “I was so much older then / I am younger now,” is an evocative line that recalls Bob Dylan’s “My Back Pages” on “Older Younger.” “So Good” gleams with “I can’t remember a time I felt so good.” The energy falls a little as the album progresses; it’s difficult to maintain such a high level of optimism. “I Can’t Wrap My Heart Around It” plays in a bluesy range with shifts in the dynamics, and the slower “I Love All of You” has the repeating refrain “I love you / I love all of you” with floating vocals and a composed mood. The crux of the shift seems to lay with the sweet and moody “Motherland” — an ode to Alberta that features the pedal steel talents of Aaron Goldstein. With a bass thrum size to it, the song reconnects to the idea of Colleen Brown and Scenic Route to Alaska’s fortunate meeting. Major Love have managed to propel the joy of finding — and connecting with — other Canadians abroad, and have turned it into a soundtrack for revelry. (Latent Recordings) HARDCORE PUNK