London based producer Ghost Culture has slowly been drip-feeding us quality release after quality release since 2013. After months of rumour and hearsay, his debut album has finally been released. Recorded over the space of a few months in his bedroom studio last year, the album is a masterclass showing what is achievable with limited resources and great ideas. Yes, Mark Ronson and David Guetta we’re talking about you here. You don’t need every piece of kit going to create music.
Signed to London based Phantasy Sound, Ghost Culture has found a unique home. Over the past few years Phantasy have released amazing albums from Connan Mockasin and Daniel Avery. As Phantasy say “Ghost Culture emerges from the shadows to make the space between those two worlds his own”.
While this is true, there is more to it than that. It’s true that he shares elements of both words. There is the dance floor consciousness of Avery, yet the playful lyrical imagery of Mockasin has been stripped to its most basic and potent form. As Erol Alkan once said after hearing track 'How' on Soundcloud “[Ghost Culture] has written a song which I felt was familiar, yet fused two different musical references”. Some tracks sound like LCD Soundsystem, but they have been taken to a different conclusion than anything James Murphy et al would have done. Others sound like Depeche Mode but with an eye on the dance floor, rather than the Top 40. 'Lying' is reminiscent of the nursery rhyme “Oranges and Lemons” reimagined through an 808. It’s this simplicity and playfulness that gives the album a real charm. The album is packed full of these moments. Stand out track 'Answer' sounds like LCD Soundsystem covering Aphex Twin being produced by Vangelis and remixed by Phuture.
There are downsides to the album though. On certain tracks, such as 'Lucky', Ghost Culture’s vocals seem almost redundant and the song, and album, might have been stronger with an instrumental. This is all immaterial and nit-picking; as this is one of the strongest debut albums, scratch that, one of the strongest albums that I’ve heard in a long time. What Ghost Culture has effortlessly done is create 10 tracks that are equally enjoyable on the bus to work as they are in a club on the dance floor. Rumour has it that he’s taking the album on the road later in the year, if this is true, then this is something that cannot be missed!