Ghostly International Label Spotlight

Visit Google Play to score free tracks and browse new releases from Ghostly International.

If you think electronic music is merely for all-night rave dance parties, think again. For nearly 15 years, Ghostly International has been releasing synthetic sounds for all environments, continuing the legacy of Midwest techno while putting their phantom fingers into various pockets of pop, rock and hip-hop. This Ghostly International Label Spotlight is a classy collection culled from the imprint's recent releases. It's full of lush and futuristic ambience—and not a fuzzy boot in sight.

Ghostly and its sub-label Spectral Sound began as outposts for mainly American-made techno and electro, but over time they've solidified an "avant-pop" sound, signing artists including School of Seven Bells, Gold Panda and Phantogram. This collection opens with a trio of Ghostly's best-sellers. Matthew Dear, who made his name with big techno singles "Hands Up for Detroit" and "Dog Days," presents "Earthforms," a groovy post-punk number from his new record, Beams. Meanwhile, San Franciscan Tycho surfs long synth swells into an orange sunset on "Hours," and Com Truise opts for '80s nostalgia on "Open."

Of course, it wouldn't be a Ghostly collection without electropop: Michna, Choir of Young Believers and Brooklyn duo Beacon explore shades of the genre, from light and dancey to dark and romantic. A distinct hip-hop influence appears in the work of Mux Mool and Shigeto. Mux transforms big handclaps and lurching beats into the G-funk techno production "Palace Chalice," while Shigeto's "Huron River Drive" is an autumnal ride of refracted jazz and light-as-leaves percussion. Fans of the Ninja Tune and Brainfeeder labels, take note.

The set concludes with an ambient slice from Christopher Willits and electronic music pioneer Ryuichi Sakamoto, closing a Ghostly circle back to where it all began. For a limited time, download free tracks at Google Play, and let the spirit move you. – Vivian Host, Google Play

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