Having begun as a quietly ambitious bedroom project, the music of Ghost Culture began as a response to his own limitations of equipment and time. Assisted by Phantasy founder Erol Alkan's guiding hand at the Phantasy Sound studio, the pair further coaxed out the emotional and sonic layers of the initial productions, without losing any of the immediacy and freedom of his vision. An unusual alliance between the sound of contemporary underground techno and the truly individual styles of the likes of Arthur Russell and Elliot Smith, Ghost Culture coaxes listeners into an intimate space of his own creation, whether enraptured in the intensity of the dance floor or safe in the moonlit intimacy of the bedroom.
Arriving fully formed in January 2015’, Ghost Culture’s self titled LP fulfilled its potential, delivering striking depth and nuance for a full length debut. The Guardian Guide swiftly declared it ‘Critic's Choice’, with The Observer, The Times, Mixmag, Mojo, Q and The Financial Times each rewarding it either a ⅘ star review or equivalent, while The Quietus celebrated the record as “one of the best and most confident debuts in years.”
The album’s lead singles - the brooding ‘Mouth’, celestial ‘Giudecca’ and urgent, intimate ‘Arms’ - were matched on their B Sides with a string of cuts ably showcasing his connection to the club. ‘Red Smoke’, widely heard at the conclusion of Alkan’s acclaimed Fabriclive, provides seven minutes of understated intensity, equalled in studio prowess and individuality on addictive follow ups, ‘Half Open’ and ‘Understand’, all of which found extensive support in the DJ community and electronic press.
And whereas Ghost Culture’s early singles leant confidently towards classic electro, somewhere between Depeche Mode and Deetron, his full length explored a knack for contemporary songwriting first established on those impressive early singles. Amid a consistent but unpredictable pulse, the album is awash in many textures, from quaalude laced lullabies (‘How’, ‘Glaciers’, ‘Lying’), machine funk shufflers (‘Lucky’, ‘Answer’) concluding in atmospheric closing number, ‘The Fog’.
Furthermore, a vital crop of remixers have continued to expand on Ghost Culture’s more rhythmic material, with Running Back boss Gerd Janson and studio partner Shan pulling ‘Mouth’ in the direction of an 80s warehouse rave, cowbells and whistles and all. Meanwhile, Matthew Dear has more recently taken to his feted Audion alias in order to rework ‘Lucky’ into an offbeat, drum laden odyssey, still carefully retaining the spellbinding vocal hook of the original. Away from Phantasy, Ghost Culture himself has been unafraid to work his charm on fellow experimental pop contemporaries, remixing acts such as Django Django and Ghostpoet in distinctive fashion.
Ghost Culture’s memorable, offbeat live show saw him impress audiences across Europe, recreating the LP live, accompanied by a collection of brilliant, flickering lampshades and a beguiling collection of electronics. The climax of his 2015 album tour saw a memorable, expanded performance at Corsica Studios, following appearances at Field Day, We Love Green, Pukkelpop and Secret Solstice.
Ghost Culture makes a return to Phantasy in 2019 with a digital double-side of emotive and futurist electro, ‘Blue Ice/Meltwater’.
‘Blue Ice’ dives immediately into trippy euphoria, perfectly engineered to transmit a trance-like effect on listeners. The track is awash in a texture that lands somewhere between melancholy and euphoria, strobe light and sunrise.
‘Meltwater’ meanwhile is a weightless, aquatic blend of rhythm and melody, destined to create any number of transcendent moments on the largest of sound systems, without sacrificing the flawless composition at the heart of Ghost Culture’s music.