When I discover a new band or artist these days it’s far easier to devour their back catalogue than it used to be – before the internet you’d have to actively seek out and buy their music, one by one (or in a credit card busting go). Then, once Napster came along and ruined it for everyone, you could type the artist name into the search and hope someone was sharing their back catalogue. This was rather hit and miss (and it would take a long time for all the tracks to download, natch – 56k modems were never meant for artists with more than one album). With the advent of broadband and then Bittorrent, you could package up all the albums in one torrent file and download them over a few hours (or days).
This meant one thing though; you had it all for free. And the times I did this, I felt very dirty. I did it with a few bands that are now staples of my musical diet when I was at university, and have since compensated for it by buying at least one or two of their albums (or in the case of Boards of Canada, buying everything by them that I can find). How though, as you might have guessed, I am a proponent of Spotify and love it. When I find something new I can regularly just make a playlist of their work, sit back and enjoy.
One strange thing that it also allows is the linking of random tracks from various sources, like compilations and other albums, as well as remixes and one off releases. And it is something that a singular label, Ghostly International, appear to have worked out down to a T. But that is getting ahead of myself.
I am uncertain how I found Ghostly International initially, but my first release by them might be the Tycho single series that started back in 2008. The split release Adrift/From Home was recommended to me by eMusic, and I picked it up. I then found out that two further releases were coming – The Daydream/The Disconnect and Coastal Brake, and I started to find out more about the artist. I forgot about him a bit for a while, before stumbling across the apparently unlinked Ghostly Discover application for my iPhone. This app is probably the neatest way a label could stream their music – by a taste based app that let’s me decided what I want to listen to and then it feeds me artists. It was whilst listening to a selection of Ghostly artists that I came across Tycho again, and realised that there was a link – the label.
Once I looked into it, I suddenly realised that Ghostly were releasing the exact type of music I wanted to listen to. Tycho, despite being my most loved artist on the label, was a gateway into the world of several more.
Tycho’s Dive is my album of the past ten years. I can’t listen to it without feeling warmth and love washing over me. I know it’s not very exciting or unique, but it just feels perfect to my ears – a wonderful mixture of ambient and slowcore mixed with tinges of Boards of Canada. And his earlier work, Past is Prologue, is amazing.
Shigeto’s first few EPs weren’t released on Ghostly, but his Semi-Circle and Full Circle releases were, and they’re up there with some of the coolest hip-hop styled instrumentals you can find out there. There’s a strange kind of beat going in them and they make me really want to dance, strangely, or just act cool. You know?
Canadian ambient artist Scott Morgan, Loscil has recently released material on Kranky (another fucking brilliant label, and maybe one I should write about too) but he released some material on Ghostly before and it just gives an excuse to include him in this list. Playing Glasgow and London in March, his Sketches from New Brighton album is one of my favourites from 2012.
Michna’s Magic Monday was suggested to me by a friend on Twitter and despite it being a little different from the others in this list (being slightly more organic than some others) it deserves to be here because it’s just brilliant. Difficult to get into, maybe, but entirely worth listening to.
Com Truise is one of those artists I have been listening to for a long time and to see him within the Ghostly canon is exciting – he releases a lot of material online for free, but his Galactic Melt LP is stunning. I wrote about him for Opionehted a while ago – and I am still seriously enthusiactic about his material.
Also worth listening to are Aeroc, Lusine, Matthew Dear, Cepia, Midwest Product and Mux Mool.
Handily, I’ve made a Wednesday Graveyard for this – listen below or click here.
And, bringing it back to the start of this post, the reason I have found all of these is via Spotify, and the numerous Ghostly compilations that are on there. Here is a selection you should listen to:
- We'll Never Stop Living This Way: A Ghostly Primer
- Ghostly Swim
- Idol Tryouts: Ghostly International Vol. 1
- Idol Tryouts Two: Ghostly International Vol. 2
- The Nocturnal Suite
- Spectral Sound Vol. 1
- Ghostly By Night