What is an Iglooghost?
“An Iglooghost is a Little God. They are birthed from a life cycle; baby, witch, iglooghost. One day two giant eyeballs fell to the ground and the lifecycle froze. They called this event Neo Wax Bloom.”
And so begins a journey through the vibrant and chaotic world of UK-based producer Seamus Malliagh, better known as Iglooghost, as we tumble headfirst into his debut album.
The album is Iglooghost operating at peak performance, with cartoonish voices and intricate arpeggios twinkling above a tumultuous sea of bass and breakneck percussion. Iglooghost not so much shifts but blinks between ideas and flavors, ultimately weaving together a mystical confetti-laden tapestry. A little bit trap, a little bit footwork, a little bit dubstep, a little bit grime – he throws them all into one blender to create a genre-defiant sound that is as frenetic as it is enigmatic.
The album opens with the monastic chimes of “Pale Eyes” that set up a glacial ambiance and title card for Neo Wax Bloom. That serene atmosphere is just as quickly shattered by the galloping drums and winding Mos Eisley Cantina-horns of “Super Ink Burst” as the listener is sucked into wormholes and launched in catapults. The trio of “Bug Thief,” “Solar Blade,” and “White Gum” blur together as Iglooghost ratchets up the chaos levels to the point where everything feels like its just about to fall apart and spiral out of control. This is where the genius of Iglooghost lies: a maximalist approach of throwing everything and the kitchen sink into the mix and reigning it all back in so that it never quite crosses the threshold into a ridiculous mess. Iglooghost executes with a technical precision that which would make any music theory nerd foam at the mouth, while still remaining accessible to less pretentious ears moving across a club floor.
Each melody, beat change, and vocal chop feels deliberate, carefully throughout and intricately woven together like the fantastical world Malliagh has created around Iglooghost. A talented graphic designer, Malliagh created a rich visual language to embody his music full of cones, floating eyes, and squiggles. The whimsical creatures that grace the album art double as the protagonists of Neo Wax Bloom’s narrative. It isn’t hard to imagine a chorus of floating witches singing the cut-up J-pop refrains of any given track. There is even an accompanying alphabet that Malliagh designed for this world. This attention to detail and totality of vision is what makes the world of Iglooghost feel so vivid and specific.
The second half of the record kicks off with the pumped up “Purity Shards”. With each cartoonish vocal hit, you can almost see little witches pummeling a punching bag in a dojo atop a foggy mountain. But if “Purity Shards” is the training sequence then “Zen Champ” is the big fight sequence with a barrage of drums, massive apocalyptic grinding bass, and a ‘this-is-go-time’ urgency of a final boss fight.
The catch-your-breathe track of the album, “Infinite Mint,” is a dreamy softer side of Iglooghost. The song has some clear influence from Japanese net-label Maltine Records, sounding like Malliagh’s heavier take on a Mikeneko Homeless or LLLL pop song. It’s a refreshing change of pace, seeing a possibly more bedroom pop side of Iglooghost, while still not feeling out of place.
Neo Wax Bloom’s climax comes in its oldest song, “Peanut Choker,” first heard on the 2016 Little Grids EP. Here, as the penultimate track, it really shines pulling together all of the disparate threads and motifs that have popped up across the album. It’s the moment where all makes sense and the payoff becomes oh-so-gratifying. In its more refined form, “Peanut Choker” is the crown jewel of the entire album shinning dazzlingly bright at its apex.
Neo Wax Bloom as a whole is whiplash-inducing chaos, yet still cohesive. The lines between one track and the next can be hard to distinguish but can still stand up on their own two legs. With each subsequent listen you begin to notice new details and re-contextualize old favorites. It’s an album that is meticulously crafted with a level of polish we have come to expect from the darling of Brainfeeder. Iglooghost is a fresh voice, challenging our preconceived notions on what constitutes club-ready dance music and exploring the boundaries between the cerebral and the visceral. Neo Wax Bloom is an impressive debut from a producer who we are already waiting with baited breath for his next move. But in the meantime, let’s appreciate what we have and lose ourselves in the lush immersive fantasy world of the Iglooghost.