Phono Ghosts – Quicksilver Incantation

4 out of 5

Label: Future Massive

Produced by: Neil Scrivin

Accepting that I’m a huge Phono Ghosts fan, and not to knock some of the great artists that Future Massive has added to their release list, but give this EP a spin, then go through the other stuff on the
label, and come back and give this a spin again. Hear a difference? Yes, yes you do: that’s Neil Scrivin, doing their fantastic futurist-retro thing, and elsewhere, you’ve heard… IDM. Is IDM bad? No – I love plenty of it, but I can say I’ve heard similar things before; I have many touchpoints in that genre, and the stuff on FM is excellent, but familiar. And while there are plenty of artists also doing this retro beat thing that Phono Ghosts does, the way Neil floats between the mysterious and the grooving within a single song – or, rather, doesn’t even float between, so much as commit to both emotions at the same time – just floors me. I bob my head to this stuff, but also get the chills. Beats are laid down that are deeply body-moving, instantly, and then you are also immersed in a sci-fi, Cronenbergian world: fresh and clean and grimy and dirty all at the same time; kind of hopeful, kind of nerve-wracking.

Quicksilver Incantations has a particularly arcane vibe to it, though I might just be influenced by the cover art. The titles are geared towards colors, but there’s still something tweaked mixed into that, that shifts the upbeat, vocal title track into the late-night, disturbed swirls of Red Star Horizons; a kind of library music version of a Silent Hill track – A Distance Of Gold – has a slowed down, celebratory mirror in followup Crack The Great White Colour. Solid Beige is a wonderfully weird little boogie-oogie closer; the preceding Lakeland Opal is the only track that feels a little filler-y, repeating some of the opener’s moves but more simplistically – it’s notably the shortest track here, though.

Scrivin continues to impress, whether working in the more mercurial territory of this particular pseudonym, the experimental ambience of The Night Monitor, or the funkiness of his own name, linked by a fantastic grasp on song that always keeps things grooving, and never over-staying their welcome. On his first Future Massive release, he injects the imprint with a bit of mystery, racking up another incredibly solid release in his oeuvre as well.