Featureless Ghost / Osborn :: Double review (Acoustic Division)

Acoustic Division is definitely coming of age. Featureless Ghost and Osborn are two top quality EPs, each filled with emotive and heartening electronics that works on both the floor and in the armchair. Superb stuff from…Kentucky?

featurless-ghost_osborn_dbl_featI’ve never been to Kentucky. I don’t particularly know much about Kentucky, bar the Colonel and his buckets of, er, food. I do know a bit about electronic music in the US, and the word Kentucky has never featured heavily in the history of Electro, House and Techno and most other genres. But, never say never; to batter a cliché. Acoustic Division is putting that unlikely state on the musical map. 2014 is already tipped to be AD’s most productive year, with new releases coming thick and fast. Alongside Janet and Cirkutry come two better known names in electronics.

Featureless Ghost is an artist I have half-encountered. I’ve known of the band (Claire Elise Tippins and Matthew Weiner), heard some tracks but had never truly got to grips with them. For AD the US man delivers Trance State Or Identity. His style is difficult to pin down. House is definitely central to the formula, but not the corrosive and jagged line that more artists are pursuing. Instead smoother tones are explored but not without some clever rhythmic patterns to add extra punch. “Soft Cell” opens the EP. Beats thump before being subdued by waves of analogue arpeggios. Melodies stagger, slumping and rising into counter harmonies. When the track fully unveils itself it is a bold statement of Featureless Ghost’s abilities, a shimmering piece of absorbing electronics. “Trans” continues in a similar line. Beats are bolstered, miscreant claps haranguing warm and soulful melodies for a complex work that sits on the fault lines of Techno and House. Vocals breathe and whisper with the arrival of “Body Pillow.” Chords twirls under an increasing pressure, samples folding into one another as snares crack. The drum machine is a big part of Featureless Ghost’s sound, and for the finale the hardware’s wiring is undoubtedly overheating. Drum clusters form and dissolve under melting chords.

Next comes AD’s biggest name to date. Todd Osborn has been a central artist for Ghostly International and demonstrates his honed abilities from the outset on Back 2 Here. Textured chords introduce the title piece. Beats sit as foundation, Osborn building detailed harmonies that duck and weave for a developed and sonorous opening. The American artist continues to demonstrates his deft touch. Future jazz fully enters the EP with Grid. The track sounds like a classic from the Planet E back catalog. That Detroit aspect is a central theme of the EP. Soulful pulses are the heart of “Takeover.” The track is understated and deep, Osborn utilizing absorbing pads to envelope the listener in a rich analogue wash. “Solis” closes the 12”. The track steps out of Techno and into soundtrack jazz. The strings are pure 70s soundtrack, warm piano keys and a rasping beat. Close your eyes and you might just see Dustin Hoffman padding the streets of New York. Montage nostalgia.

Acoustic Division is definitely coming of age. Featureless Ghost and Osborn are two top quality EPs, each filled with emotive and heartening electronics that works on both the floor and in the armchair. Superb stuff from…Kentucky?

Trance State or Identity and Back 2 Here are available on Acoustic Division.

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