Global Goon – The Phantom Orchestra

5 out of 5

Label: 030303

Produced by: Jonathan Taylor (?)

One of the most beautiful, catchy, bouncy, emotional, and strangest electronic records I’ve heard in quite some time, Global Goon’s The Phantom Orchestra snakes through the artist’s playful IDM repertoire and then combines it with, in part, a Pierre Bastien-like mechano sound, and then, in part, a video game-esque exuberance, but then, finally – befitting that Orchestra tag – a lush sense of instrumentation that might as well be a full band.

…But it’s still Global Goon; it’s still slinky and groovy, and kinda silly but totally not at all.

There’s possibly some storyline happening here, but at the very least, the album is moderately divided by its two 12″s – the opener is the more mechano / gamey of the two, starting very much in the former and getting more hyped up for the latter, with a climactic 1-2 of End Game and Battle Of The Drohnkens. On the C-side and on to D, Goon starts to mix in more of a Krautrock aesthetic, hammering on with breath-like beats and adding little wiggles of nuance along the way, getting flashes of vocals on the clubby Twango, or the expansive, six minute Infinite Blossom.

But really, what’s setting this apart is that orchestra sound: the way this all verges on a “live” vibe and hovers between playfulness and seriousness, a half-smile upon the artist’s face as whatever fictional characters’ actions this album is scoring are at war and peace with each other at all times, dancing with knives in some kind of West Side Story showdown, if that’d been scored by someone rocketing in from the future, and having digested all of the Rephlex catalogue, and all of the modern IDM artists influenced by that, but then shooting it all through with their own tweaked ideas.