Another round of well-made melodic electronica from the folks at the N5MD label. (ghost) (aka Brian Froh) brings an adept hand and a very personal touch to the overcrowded world of glitch on this debut release. It’s the very real emotional content that lifts this disc a little above similar outings.”Endless Road” is a great example of Froh’s ability to ping something inside you. A three-note phrase repeats under lazily rolling pads, and in spots Froh softly folds in a melody. Maybe it’s the hint of sadness behind the music, but this one should dredge up some feelings or at least put your head in a particular spot. You’ll know it when you get there. “Distance” has a similar effect; it feels extremely personal. Froh weaves his melody in and out of the glitchwork, and for long stretches leaves just the beats and silky pads. A straight-up piano sound later in the track is a great, unexpected touch. Froh peppers this track with a simple classic electro-music twiddle that falls in at all the right times. “Arrival, Departure” opens slow and low with minor-chord gravitas, then gently adds density in beats, distant whispers of vocals, and a nice bass line toward the end. You may hear echoes of Boards of Canada, one of Froh’s cited influences, in the half-awake drowse at play here. (Although he doesn’t note Carbon Based Lifeforms as an influence, my mind shoots over to them when I listen to “Abyss.” Something in the high notes that form the melody takes me there.) By and large, Departure is a straightforward blend of skittering beats and bass-drum thuds over stretched, laid-back pads–the usual equation for this school. It’s Froh’s super-smooth hand on the tiller, and the way he modulates the tempo of the ride, that keep the listener engaged. A strong debut. Looking forward to what comes next.
Available from N5MD.