Iglooghost-Neō Wax Bloom Review
Iglooghost, the pseudonym of Irish producer Seamus Malliagh, is one of modern electronic music’s most mysterious and eclectic figures. His early career and unique visual style emerged by age 17, resulting in a collection of quirky singles and the Treetunnels EP. His 2015 signing to Brainfeeder only allowed him additional sonic exploration, putting him in the wheelhouse of electronica veterans like Flying Lotus, Tokimonsta, and Mr. Oizo, and leading to the release of his brief but enjoyable Chinese Nü Yr EP. If you need a further run down on his unique weirdness, his hilarious “How to Make An Iglooghost Song” presents a tutorial on recreating his “style”, accompanied by pitched vocals, two floating CGI eyeballs, and an AUX-accessible watermelon.
His latest release, Neō Wax Bloom, is by far his most cohesive and energetic project to date. The opening track “Pale Eyes” is perhaps the calmest on the entire album, ushering in the world of Bloom in a series of rising vocal chirps, the brushing of oriental strings, and naturalistic glimpses of birds and an overhead canopy, before being accompanied by further vocal embellishment and a grainy saxophone. The following “Super Ink Burst” descends into an immediate fervor, the saxophone struggling to keep up with the electronic layers and distorted vocals overwhelming it. “Bug Thief” and “Sōlar Blade” are two of the album’s highlights, the former dropping the listener deeper into Iglooghost’s ideas via a thumping beat that emits static with each pound. “Blade” presents a quirky array of quick-changing scales, taunting whistles, and a tropical background (Malligah did mention some of the concept for the album emerging from the garden in his imaginative “Mamu” universe, so Bloom’s marriage of the natural and synthetic worlds feels well placed). “White Gum” is helmed by an erratic and pitched rap sample that sound right out of the inverse grime underground, while “Zen Champ” clashes ricocheting instrumental drops with angelic, Final Fantasy-esque vocal samples and the shredding of a digital guitar. The album’s two features, underground Japanese dream pop artist cuushe and electronic rapper Mr. Yote, who’s released collaborative projects with Malliagh in the past few years, provide their own free-reign accompaniments, not so much implementing a break from the maddening universe as finding their vocals lost in it themselves. Closing tracks “Peanut Choker” and “Göd Grid” put the brakes on Bloom, slowing Iglooghost’s seemingly endless party with quieter instrumentals and less electronic layers.
Neō Wax Bloom is an absolute thrill to listen to, both with it’s intoxicating thematic universe and constant replayability, always revealing new sonic embellishments for the listener to discover. Malliagh presents himself as a highly capable producer, finding both innovation and a unique lane for his music in one of the most saturated modern genres.