The alien electronica soundtrack to a romantic futuristic journey back to ancient times.
My review of Iglooghost may be a bit impenetrable to a casual music listener and for that, I apologise upfront. For those looking for the skinny version, ‘Lei Line Eon’ is a romantic string and synth-laden hardcore electronica album. It refuses to burst into breakbeats and explosive BPM rushing moments as Iglooghost often tends to do in his previous work. ‘Lei Line Eon’ is far more reflective, symphonic and pastoral. It avoids the usual tropes of electronica which is what makes it so enticing.
For those who aren’t already immersed in Iglooghost’s world, the UK Dorset based producer has taken to crafting an entire alien world for his music to reside in. Each release is dedicated to a different area of that world and so each album or EP has a unique feel. This time, we are exploring music that stimulates ley lines – energy lines of the Earth – that pass through hilltop areas and pebbled beaches. This comes together with a website of glyphs which become a ley line language as it were. The glyphs are beautiful and artistically abstract enough for you to want to decode them or assign meaning to them. The lore of the album reminds me of how I felt about the language and writing context of the film ‘Arrival’. A new way of communicating, or as I decided, sound sculpting.
‘Lei Line Eon’ is an album full of sounds being sculpted. The drums are squashed and squelch out like deflated hearts. The layers of tuned percussion range from metallic waterphones and rainsticks to twisted glockenspiel and thumb pianos. Violin and synths collide and bleed over the beats or keys like they are running their own song. Tracks like ‘Big Protector’ feel like they are telling a story as they jiggle, writhe and spasm through the ley lines they are meant to stimulate. They also feel like they don’t belong to traditional song structures either – as if they are interpreting the glyphs into musical art that rarely repeats itself. For me, the artwork of ley line language which Iglooghost (may have) created transposes into these alien songs that just don’t conform to the norms of music.
This curiosity is the albums strongest asset. Tracks like ‘Sylph Fossil’, ‘UI Birth’ and ‘Pure Grey Circle’ early on are so abstract in how they come together, you aren’t sure which element of the music to take stress on. Do you roll to the beats and heavy bass, feel heady with the strings or become entranced with the haunting vocals or tuned percussion? ‘UI Birth’ for example starts off like a spacecraft morse code dirge to end in a creepy string and vocal arrangement. Iglooghost has expertly crafted all these weird and wonderful sounds to draw you in without a pure explanation and as the listener, you can choose what connects with you best for each listen. That is an incredibly difficult thing to pull off on a sustained level.
I’ve found this album to be one of the most interpretative experiences of music I’ve had in a while. It gives me a euphoric vibe. ‘Zones U Can’t See’ plays with tiny knocks and scratches whilst a violin solo goes nuts over a twisted child voice. Then you have these moments of clarity when the piano calmly and elegantly takes over. ‘Amu (Disk.Mod)’ brings in a children’s choir and detuned zithers to feel angelic and primal. Iglooghost then underscores it with harsh kick drums and thick bass that swing with audible whooshes like the Earth is swelling and expanding under the weight of the children’s emotion. Throughout the album, click-clacks and squelches send energy pulses to and from parts of the music to the other. This brings me back to my thoughts of the glyphs and how language and energy can be translated into abstract and strange ways.
I feel I may lose a few of you by deep diving on that but after five listens of the album, I unearth and discover new sounds, ideas and experiences every time. ‘Lei Line Eon’ is an album that is so full of musical textures that surprise, delight and confuse in equal measure. Want some zoo recordings and aboriginal instruments? Have ‘Soil Bolt’. Want a symphonic downtempo electronica piece that wants to party too? Have ‘Light Gutter’. Want some experimental noises from all around your house mashed up into a spiralling mess? Enjoy ‘Yellow Umbra’ as it attacks your senses. There is simply nothing else like it out there. It is also worth noting how much of the instrumentation feels like it is borrowing from ancient and traditional folk genres yet this will never steer towards this genre at all.
Best enjoyed with its crazy narrative, website of lore, bizarre music videos and your full attention, Iglooghost has made another absolute classic. Some may struggle to get to grips with its non-linear song structures and storytelling. For me, it is a 43-minute trance-inducing story that I get to relive and reflect on time and time again. It is also one that gives me an entirely different ending depending on my mood. Is it for everyone? No, but this kind of ballsy music delivery is exactly why I love music as an artform.
Recommended track: Big Protector
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