I love a lot of music that’s come out on the Ghostly International label over the last several years. The electronic pop of Dykehouse, the stirring and cinematic sounds of Aeroc, the goofy dance jams found on the Disco Nouveau 12”s, and the Mobius Band’s ace songwriting definitely served as my gateway to this richly textured scene and also snapped a lot of ideas regarding modern pop sensibilities into focus for me. More importantly, it encouraged me to consider other artists outside the immediate fray that I otherwise never would’ve gone near without guarded supervision (or at least free drink tickets.) That said, Lusine (Jeff McIlwain) fits comfortably within Ghostly’s current stable of artists, with crackling, trance-like beats moderne assuming their expected position at center stage.
Which is sort of the problem. There’s not a lot of nuance being kicked around here, and the fact that Podgelism is in fact a CD of re-mixes by people like techno kingpin John Tejada, recent Ellen Allien collaborator Apparat, and a host of similarly qualified others is a detail that I envision being lost on many listeners lacking an acute knowledge of electronic music’s current big shots. The insistent warmth of “Still Frame” is a definite highlight, and the complex cutting of “Make it Easy” is delivered with all the foreboding mystery of a transmission received from deep space, but the general sameness of Podgelism’s 11 tracks lands it somewhere vaguely between stimulating background music and a lazily issued Prefuse 73 reference. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable listen, and the bleary-eyed stillness of the included Quicktime movie file is a nice bonus, but ultimately, there’s not a lot here to distance it from the ever-increasing pack of artists who perform while staring intently into the glowing screen of an iBook.
By Mike Lupica