Seamus Malliagh, the British producer best known as Iglooghost, has a funny story that he often tells about where his music comes from. He told it to me last year, in the midst of an otherwise run-of-the-mill interview about his upbringing as an internet-obsessed kid in a small town of the south of England. He told me about the splatterpainted, high speed electronics of his efforts as Iglooghost, in fact, detail the story of the downfall of a land of vibrant fantasy called Mamu, wherein witches and bug thieves fight for their lives as giant eyeballs (?) crash-land on their planet. He relates all this, of course, with a totally straight face.
“It's weird that a lot of journalists are saying that this is a concept album because all this stuff actually happened," he says.
On one hand, you kinda want to believe him. Over the last few years, the producer has set about making this version of electronic music with the saturation turned all the way up, and the pitch slider ripped all the way off the turntables. His productions are incredibly detailed too, filling the margins of memorable synth melodies with these otherworldly latticeworks of abstract electronics. He’s evoking other worlds, so if he says it’s the result of interstellar travellers paying him a visit at his childhood home, sure, why not. There’s little earthly explanation for the strange power contained within.
This week, Iglooghost released two EPs called Clear Tamei and Steel Mogu which expand the pantheon of his strange universe. Per a colorful description he offered via email, it’s “ABOUT A GANG OF HOODED BUG GOONS FROM THE FUTURE TRYING TO KILL A BABY GOD” (emphasis his). And the tracks offer fantasias to match, blurring together the neon haze of supersonic trap production, drum programming that hurtles along at paces that leave even junglists with motion sickness, and towering synth work evocative of the unrepentant gleam of mainstream EDM, but you know, off-balance, a little surreal. It’s not from this planet, remember?
In addition to that bevy of new tracks, Malliagh also put together a mix for us featuring some of his favorite tracks borne of this world, including his own warped edits of rap hits, old Italian minimalists, and unreleased bangers from fellow travelers of the futurist underground. It’s as widescreen and awe-inspiring as you might expect from someone with their eyes to the sky, so listen below alongside an interview with Malliagh about the new EPs and his appreciation for “RESTRAINED, TINY, SAD MICROBE MUSIC.”
Also, we were asked to keep preserve his all-caps emails, which would ordinarily be kinda annoying, but if you know his music, it makes...so much sense.
Noisey: How are we meant to enjoy the mix? What's the perfect setting?
Iglooghost: DRINKING LIQUID SMOKE WHILE BUYING VERY EXPENSIVE FABRIC ON AMAZON PRIME.
Is synesthesia a real thing and if so, what color is this mix?
BLOOD ORANGE & REALLY LIGHT GREY.
Was there any specific concept to the mix?
IT’S WHAT I’VE BEEN LISTENING TO! IT’S ALSO A LOT OF SONGS MASHED TOGETHER. I LOVE DOING THAT.
Do you have a favorite moment on this mix?
I REALLY LIKE THE BIT WHERE IT’S AN UNRELEASED REVAZZ TRACK MASHED UP WITH AN UNRELEASED BABii TRACK MASHED UP WITH A XZAVIER STONE TRACK!
I’m really curious about the Francesco Messina piece that closes the mix. I love that record so much, and a lot of the contemporaneous Italian minimalist music, but it seems kinda the opposite of the stuff you do in your own productions. What drew you to those tracks? Do you listen to a lot of ambient music in general?
WOW! I’VE NEVER GOT TO TALK ABOUT THE BIG FRANCESCO MAN 69 WITH ANYONE! THAT’S SICK. I LISTEN TO SHIT TONS OF THESE EARLY ITALIAN & JAPANESE SYNTH RECORDS THAT TRY & RECREATE MALLETS & BELL INSTRUMENTS WITH ELECTRONICS. IT’S SO FASCINATING TO ME HOW ABUNDANT THAT IDEA IS IF U LOOK HARD ENOUGH, & YET IT DOESN’T EVEN HAVE A NAME & HARDLY ANY OF THESE GUYS N GALS HUNG OUT TOGETHER, OR EVEN LIVED IN THE SAME COUNTRY. FRANCO NANNI IS MY FAV RN. HE’S A DIFFERENT GUY TO FRANCESCO MESSINA—BUT HIS SHIT IS INSANE TOO. HE HAS A REALLY BEAUTIFUL RECORD CALLED ELICOIDE ALL ABOUT MITOCHONDRIAS, BUT HE ALSO HAS THIS PROJECT CALLED THE ELICOIDE ENSEMBLE & IT’S LIKE A WHOLE BAND MAKING THE MOST RESTRAINED, TINY, SAD MICROBE MUSIC YOU’VE EVER HEARD. NOBODY GIVES A SHIT ABOUT IT BUT IT’S THE BEST STUFF IN THE WORLD.
I’m curious what your last year’s been like—I know you were just starting school when we last talked, has it been pretty wild trying to do that with all the extra attention your music’s gotten in the last year?
LOL I PROLLY QUIT SCHOOL LIKE THE DAY AFTER I TALKED TO U HAHAHA. I THOUGHT EVERYONE WAS GONNA HATE NEO WAX BLOOM WHEN I WAS MAKING IT SO I PREEMPTIVELY TRIED TO GO TO UNIVERSITY BEFORE IT CAME OUT… THEN IT CAME OUT & EVERYTHING WAS FINE & I REALISED I OBVIOUSLY DON’T WANT TO BE IN DEBT & WORK AT GETTY IMAGES FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE OR SOME SHIT.
When we spoke last year, you told me a bit about the story and characters that accompanied your last record. Is there a similar lore for these new EPs? I know you’ve been working on bringing some of these characters to life too—do you feel like these stories are intrinsic to the music at this point? Could there be an Iglooghost track without one of these characters lingering in the background?
THESE 2 RECORDS ARE PREQUELS TO NEO WAX BLOOM & TIE UP A LOT OF THE UNEXPLAINED STUFF IN THE STORYLINE. IT’S ABOUT A GANG OF HOODED BUG GOONS FROM THE FUTURE TRYING TO KILL A BABY GOD. I LOVE TELLING THE STORIES BUT I WANT PEOPLE TO BE ABLE TO ENJOY THE NOISES EVEN IF THEY’VE NEVER SEEN THE ALBUM COVER – SO I DON’T THINK I’LL EVER MAKE THE TWO ABSOLUTELY INEXTRICABLY CONNECTED. I THINK THAT’S REALLY FORCEFUL ON HOW PEOPLE WANT TO CONSUME THIS STUFF, WHICH IS WACK. DO UR THING. BUT THE STORYLINE IS THERE IF U WANT IT!
Pursuant to that, I’m curious about your approach to world-building sonically. How do you give voice to these stories? Do you think about the sounds you use narratively? The tracks have always felt very detailed, is that related?
ALL THE NOISES & INSTRUMENTS & SECTIONS ARE REALLY PURPOSEFUL & CLEAR OF WHAT THEY’RE ‘SCORING’ IN MY HEAD… BUT I DON’T EVER WANT TO REALLY TELL ANYONE. I WANT PEOPLE TO MAKE THOSE PARTS UP THEMSELVES. THAT’S WAY MORE FUN.
Iglooghost - Grey Jab (TAY-K EDIT)
Sinjin Hawke & Zora Jones - ???
Revazz - ???
BABii - POiiSON
Xzavier Stone - Po It Up
Iglooghost - Mei Mode
Halpe - Spells
Iglooghost - Mu Yellow
Loski - Intro
Oklou - Friendless (Sega Bodega Edit)
Franco Nanni - Meiosis
Francesco Messina - Mutanyes De Granit
Francesco Messina - Prati Bagnati Del Monte Analogo