Having begun several years ago as a quietly ambitious if limited bedroom project, the music of Ghost Culture began as a response to his own limitations of equipment and time. Assisted by co-producer Erol Alkan's guiding hand at his Phantasy 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's sound continues to coax listeners into an intimate space of his own.
His debut release, “Mouth” sold out within a matter of days, garnering praise from DJs and journalists and becoming a sought after commodity amongst record collectors. Dance music institution Mixmag were effusive in their praise, awarding the release their “Tune Of The Month Award” and describing its “atmospheric, moody and emotional" sound as sitting somewhere between “Deetron and Depeche Mode”. Second single “Giudecca” confirmed Ghost Culture’s songwriting talent and production expertise and garnered further rave reviews from the music press. Dubbed “delightfully woozy” by Pitchfork and described by Dummy magazine as a “jerky electro pop earworm that just gets better with every listen”, this sophomore release saw the producer further carving out his diverse and richly detailed niche.
The brooding “Arms” followed, a queasy combination of early electro, dub techno and gloomy synth pop which seduced listeners with its outsider charm and paved the way for Ghost Culture’s debut LP. Alongside these impressive singles, the album boasts quaalude laced lullabies (“How”, “Glaciers”, “Lying”), machine funk shufflers (“Lucky”, “Answer”) and the gorgeous album closer “The Fog”, as the producer leads us on a textured journey from the intensity of the dancefloor to the moonlit intimacy of the bedroom.
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.
Such is the depth of the record, it would take six musicians playing the same vintage synth to replicate the album exactly. Instead, and without compromising the intimacy and versatility of the original recordings, Greenwood has now reinvented the LP for the gig and festival circuit, having performed at the likes of Field Day, Green Man and Pukkelpop. Surrounded by a plethora of flickering lampshades hypnotically synced to the analogue pulse of the show, Clash Music explain that his performance “builds on the tailored textures of his debut album, the spiralling synths and crisp percussion rattling above French brows” after witnessing it at Festival ‘We Love Green’, Paris.
After a year on the circuit, Greenwood feels the show has reached “a point of transition”, and will be unveiling a fresh version of the show during his headline gig at London's Corsica Studios on September 23rd. As Greenwood continues to explore and rework his material, those attending can expect amped up production and performance values, creating an impressive spectacle that is still at one with Ghost Culture's spectral, delicate but pulsating music.
You can buy Ghost Culture's debut album on vinyl from the Phantasy Shop.