(ghost) :: Everything We Touch Turns to Dust (n5MD)

Everything We Touch Turns to Dust is a hugely accessible, sonically consistent and cohesive piece of work that, even at a lean thirty-five minutes, never feels insubstantial or fleeting, something even the biggest names in electronic music aren’t always capable of achieving.

It’s always such a joy when an artist mellows, evolves and becomes increasingly more refined with age, and such is the case with Connecticut-born Brian Froh, releasing his third album on the everlasting n5MD imprint.

His debut album, Departure was a grainy wood-veneered and guitar-flecked affair, more click-clack than clicks and cuts, with swathes of ambiance washing and ageing its textured surfaces, while 2014’s A Vast And Decaying Appearance could have easily sat among Tympanik Audio releases like Candle Nine’s The Muse in the Machine or something from the Merck catalog, a more aggressive and distressed experience overall.

The sound design from one album to the next has shown much growth and precision, with Everything We Touch Turns to Dust moving to even greater heights. That somewhat melodramatic title initially seems to fit the music well as the 2814 style mournful, warbling keys appear at the corners of “Identify,” before being pricked out of the corner of your speakers and dripping down them like tears, slowly freezing in place.

But (ghost) quickly shifts away from a potentially maudlin experience and into new, exquisitely polished territory with the jittery clicks and stings of “Visible Self” before burrowing deeply into wells of reverb and delay that, for almost the rest of the entire album, could almost pass as early Arovane, albeit with an altogether faster tempo. Yes, it really is that good.

It’s to Everything We Touch Turns to Dust‘s benefit that it plays out as one fluid, narrative whole, each track melding seamlessly into the next as that patina of jittery clicks, frosty slow-motion ebb and flow. Through the hyperactive “Careful Deception,” the bubbling and aquatic “Wounds” and on into the pulsing heart of the album, “Wastelands” a trifecta of simmering, Kangding Ray or Senking bass swells, tense, almost sinister, spectral drones that swim in and out of focus and infectious melodic bass stabs and analogue pads.

Beyond this point the album begins to crack and crumble, “Mercked” the barest-bones of the bunch, the ominous bells of “To Watch It All Burn” chiming to the sounds of shredding hi-hats. The fluttering keys of the title track flit through synth-bass stabs and thudding drums in another album peak before (ghost) elects to end the album on an odd optimistic note.

Everything We Touch Turns to Dust is a hugely accessible, sonically consistent and cohesive piece of work that, even at a lean thirty-five minutes, never feels insubstantial or fleeting, something even the biggest names in electronic music aren’t always capable of achieving. You can either choose to embrace the bleak narrative (ghost) has imparted or simply marvel at the bleak beauty of it all.

Everything We Touch Turns to Dust is available on n5MD.

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