Ghosts in the frequency
Galapaghost’s previous music has usually revolved around a guitar and piano based rock ala Wainright. With his second release of 2018 “Sootie”, he has moved from electronic sprinkles in his music to going full in on the electronica front. Guitars are still here too though and overall it reminds me a little of very early Beck style-wise.
“Bedtime” opens with this Beck mentality in full steam. Thick synths that play over a lazy but chunky drum loop kicks things off. Instruments flip between going forward and being played in reverse and Galapaghost’s vocals have embraced the general meh the track goes for. It works well because the album as a whole has an emptiness to it and the lazy vibes of the chilled out synths and singing only add to the downbeat melancholy tone. “May 25” has a reggae beat but there’s no happiness to be found and “Jellyfish” is a poke at vaporwave music. It rarely changes from its singular chord played out on its cheap sounding fuzzy organs and so it gets tired on your ears really quickly. It’s not that the song is bad – it’s actually very enjoyable – but everything is asking for the same part of your ear to listen to it and so it becomes a bit of a battle. “Seth” is far more interesting with its arpeggiators and low piano rumbles to create more of a stirring mood within – spreading that frequency out to make the song come alive.
“Sootie” has a great groove to it. The bassline is great and takes over the heavily compressed drums that sound like they’ve been made at 64kpbs. Add in kazoo-like vocals and Casio pen keyboards and you have something groovy and retro. “Lukewarm Love” makes better use of the retro grizzly synths in its lethargic pulsing beat. It’s more melodic and less at odds with itself. It also reminds me heavily of another artist that does electro-piano-rock crossover work called Birdmask. Both artists have a wide sound palette but a small budget to play with but Birdmask stays on the theatrical angst side of music. Galapaghost has previously been that side of the line and this move over to something more chilled and underplayed for me is a bit hit and miss. The release does end with two hits though. “Don’t Frown” is a great track that has a bit more of a backbone to it and feels less clunky and fuller than some of the earlier tracks on the album and the closing track “Sunfrost” is a 2 am sub-thump psychedelic trance-inducing piece. It’s completely different tonally to everything else but also confirms to me that Sootie is an experiment of sorts – finding out different ways to do electronic music and seeing what fits.
Galapaghost’s second release of 2018 is his weakest. I personally preferred Pulse (the title track from that release is fantastic) as this release feels less emotive and stretched out a bit thin production wise. Everything is taking place at the same frequency and it tires your ears when you listen to it end to end. There are some great tracks to be found here but you might want to listen to them all separately to get the most out of them.
Recommended track: Don’t Frown
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