I remember discovering the self-proclaimed eyeball prince through a Brainfeeder promotional video, and I couldn't help but be enchanted by his vision. Chinese Nü Yr turned out to be one of my most listened to projects of 2015, with "Xiangjiao" easily being my favorite track of his. Following this release though, my interest in Iglooghost's music started to dwindle. He released an interesting mix every so often, but none of his new music stuck out to be as ambitious as what I've previously heard. After his conversation with TheNeedleDrop about an artist's struggle to maintain relevancy, I wondered whether or not Igloo would be heading in the same trajectory. With this new album, I stand corrected. Instead he's presented us with his debut full-length titled Neō Wax Bloom, permanently stapling himself in the community with some of his most colorful, textured, and vivid work to date.
Igloo's music has always been a bubbly interdimensional journey with space witches and plasma worms, but comparing Chinese Nu Year to Neō Wax Bloom would be like comparing 2D and 3D. While we've gotten samples of what's going on in his head, this new album takes it up a notch and launches the listener into a melodically sporadic universe. I use the word "universe" with the utmost intent, the album is truly like nothing I've ever heard in my entire life. Every song sounds completely different in structure, yet the rapidly popping drums and enormous bass remind us that Igloo's the one at work here. The entire first half of the album blows me out of the water, whether it be the edited vocals in "Super Ink Burst" or the dreamy melodic landscape of "Bug Thief", everything somehow pieces together and transitions flawlessly. On top of that, Igloo shows an ability to add further depth to this hyperactive realm that he has created. I could easily picture him going on tour and having a live visual experience accompanying every pop, squeak, and crackle on the album.
My personal favorite track off the album is "Sōlar Blade", which has some of the nicest sounding synth work to ever graze my ears. The breakdown halfway through the song sounds like Iglooghost trying his hand at drum & bass music, yet redefining it with his own palette of sounds. The next few tracks we seep into have some interesting ideas to feed the brain, but they're not quite as explosive as the rest of the album. Still, I find appreciation in the way Iglooghost switches things up with "Purity Shards" and "Infinite Mint". These two songs are presented with a less busy approach-- which although weren't quite my cup of tea, I still welcomed in the context of the album. It's also incredibly heart-warming to see one of Igloo's buddies, Mr. Yote, tag along for the ride on "Teal Yomi". His ghoulish vocal approach as a swashbuckling pirate contrasts with the rest of the album; making his invasive sounding feature ironic in some sense. It's like reaching a boss fight after having fought off countless unimaginable creatures, and coming face-to-face with a stumpy blue-haired pirate. It's weird, but in my books, a welcomed change. "Peanut Choker" is a song that I initially didn't care for, but it turns out that it really fits in well with this whole project. I kind of wish the album stopped here, but with a more extended symphonic closure. The last half minute of this track is solemn euphoria, and it sounds like the journey has finally reached its homely ending. Maybe "Göd Grid" just doesn't do it for me, but regardless, this album has put me onto the eyeball prince more than ever.
If you're up for giving something new a shot, or have dabbled with IDM before, you'll have a blast with Neō Wax Bloom. I like to believe that this genre-bending project can reach past a niche community, and be welcoming to anyone with a pair of curious ears. You'll find impressive audio design and some of Braindfeeder's busiest drum sections yet; which I'll be fair and say could come off as overwhelming at first. But this album is worth a shot for anyone, and if you especially feel captured by this universe Iglooghost has curated, pick up the vinyl here. It comes with a little comic that gives you a better idea of what's going on in this thought-provoking eight year old's mind. With the announcements of more shows on the way, (including a Boiler Room set on the 23rd), I can finally see Igloo riding his own wave and gathering his energy to get back to his home planet. I'm very thankful to have discovered his music, and I can't wait to see how he progresses and grows from here.