Iglooghost By Igor Pjörrt (2024) 05

Nearly a decade since the release of his breakout EP Chinese Nü Yr, the frenetic and meticulous music of Iglooghost still cuts a distinctive figure. Born Seamus Malliagh, Iglooghost is a worldbuilder, creating distinctive visual landscapes for each eardrum-assaulting release to live in, in pleasing contrast to the grey facelessness that plagues the aesthetics of electronic music. From the candy-coloured juvenalia of Neō Wax Bloom to Lei Line Eon's merger of Dorset mythology and chamber music, not since Drexciya has a producer been so committed to detail both in and around the music. His new album Tidal Memory Exo is no different: inspired by the drabness of the Kent coast, the album imagines a post-apocalyptic world in which ancient fossils are the only extant intelligent life form. The dayglow sheen of those earlier albums has been replaced with a more primordial sensibility: Malliagh’s vocals are pitched to a malarial growl, and beats gurgle where they used to jab. It’s a work of newfound maturity, yet one that keeps the Bristol-based producer’s idiosyncrasies front and centre.

Check out his TANK Mix, and read the interview below, where he discusses the smell of chlorine and Marvel movies.

TANK In comparison to the digital sheen of your earlier records, the aesthetic for this album incorporates earthier, duskier tones. Tell me about the contextual landscape of Tidal Memory Exo.
IGLOOGHOST I think as time’s gone on, my albums’ worlds have begun to reflect and augment my real-world surroundings rather than something purely daydream-like and 100% fictitious. I made this one in a concrete squat in a polluted ocean middle-of-nowhere town in Kent. Petrol-stained mechanized seaweed music.

TANK Worldbuilding and lore are key to your artistic practice, but also something used culturally to justify endless regurgitation of the same idea. How do you avoid this pitfall?
IGLOOGHOST Maybe I would have more money if I shamelessly tried to regurgitate my most popular moments or ideas but ultimately it would just be really really boring. I just need to stay the maximum amount of excited as possible about making stuff, that’s my main priority always. I really need each album to inhabit its own individual world and being trapped in one stagnant world and pandering to people sounds like a living hell. That's a parasitic audience-artist relationship where nobody wins. I feel like we're in a strange storytelling era where soulless Marvel and Netflix shows basically pander to fanfiction and let the audience dictate the plot. This creates a stasis of safe nostalgia and gratification, preventing any unexpected innovation from happening.

TANK Your vocals are more foregrounded on this record than they have been in the past. What motivated this shift?
IGLOOGHOST I like yelling about seaweed and rust.

TANK The artwork is fantastic – how was it made?
IGLOOGHOST I was doing a set by an oil rig in a high tide and Igor Pjört took a picture of me. It was really cold & the water smelt of chlorine and oil.

TANK The aesthetic of electronic music is often a future-facing one, describing cybernetic possibilities and pushing against the analogue. Of late, your work is equally informed by history and the past. Are you thinking about this positioning when composing your tracks?
IGLOOGHOST I don’t think I’m thinking about it much, but I certainly don’t wanna make redundant music that feels like it could have been made any time before now. I think some people worry too much about pushing things forward and making some kind of farcical cybernetic futurist shit to the point of parody. We are making music on laptops, it’s inherently really weird. I feel like it’s not hard to make future-facing music on these things.

TANK How do visuals and music inform each other when you are creating?
IGLOOGHOST They’re inseparable for me. I always at least have one image that I constantly reference and check while I make a song that gets tied to it forever in my head. I have a shortcut on my computer that switches from my DAW to an image.

TANK What do you have planned for the next Iglooghost project?
IGLOOGHOST Tracks... that word means more than you think it does though. You’ll see!

Tidal Memory Exo is out now. Photo by Igor Pjört.