Phono Ghosts – Solar Dream Reel

5 out of 5

Produced by: Neil Scrivin

Label: Fonolith

Neil Scrivin – under his own name, as Meatbingo, or as Phono Ghosts – exists on the musical verge of something else.  On the verge of IDM chopped beats; of 80s house; of retro-sampled soundscapes.  But then he holds it there and embellishes, adding his own flavor and feelings that makes the sounds blazingly modern – as with Meatbingo – or fascinatingly time-less, which has proven to be his m.o. with Phono Ghosts.  Cheeky samples float in and out, blent with the bounciest of video game beats, making you expect a chuckle-filled nostalgia electro bomb, but instead, Neil molds that cheek into a background layer, playing up a juxtapositioned Windowlicker-era Aphex breakbeat or else taking it back, and back, and down, into a chill-out washed groove.  The Phono Ghosts name has been described in Scrivin’s press – “a exploration of that borderland between the waking world and sleep” – and it ain’t just fancy editorial: that unpinpointable sensation is what Solar Dream Reel thrives on.

Time-less; unpinpointable.  In the case of the former, that’s not to say “of any time,” but rather possibly belonging to any time, stretching from electro’s raw beginnings to its most cutting edge pursuits; with the latter, it’s not a case of a lack of focus – it’s Neil hanging out in the uncomfortable world of joy and confusion, beats pulsing to make you groove while maybe you catch yourself feeling a bit too self-aware of your danged grooviness all the same…

No, it’s not all that serious – Solar Dream Reel is a hecka good time; an amazingly sequenced divide between bleep blop killer beats and ambient, icy clicks, layered and layered for luscious headphone a’listening.  Nah, it’s all in good fun.  …OR IS IT?