Iglooghost distinctively blends experimental hip-hop and electronic beats to create a sound that's like a cartoon with magical forests, Pop Rocks and pink clouds with big eyes and smiley faces. He already has a handful of releases to his name, most notably the collaborative rap album Milk Empire, recorded with his “musical partner-in-crime” Mr. Yote and released under the name Yoteghost as a giant pink helium balloon with a download code.
On Oct. 30, Iglooghost makes his official debut on Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder label with his Chinese Nu Yr EP. It's a concept album, sort of, telling the story of a gelatinous, worm-shaped creature in a witch hat called xiangjiao. The witch hat is the creature's clothes; if he/she were naked, Iglooghost explains matter-of-factly, that would be “super embarrassing.”
The creature is sad because his/her existence is based on being blasted through various nonsensical worlds full of fruit and pink mist. The fruit is “completely pointless” as everyone is afraid to eat it, and the pink mist “smells of a powered steam toy boat,” Iglooghost explains.
Iglooghost is Seamus Malliagh, an 18-year-old from the U.K. He'll be 19 sometime in 2015, but 19 “sucks,” he says, because it doesn't sound as impressive as 18.
“I started making music for real when I was 15,” he says via email. “Not that I was really good or anything.” Some of his favorite artists included Bjork, Four Tet and Ryuichi Sakamoto. With an imaginary squad of collaborators that included a dead-eyed cat and a dude who wore a big fish in place of clothing, he tried at first to make “terrifying breakcore,” without much success. “I didn't understand that notes could be out of tune and that BPMs existed.”
As a child with “really bad hand-eye coordination,” it was very difficult for young Seamus to play any instruments. “That's why I think laptop music is so freeing,” he says. “The kids who have wobbly fingers can just pause time and go back and edit the notes they messed up.” While this doesn't eliminate the importance or relevance of real instruments, Iglooghost feels that it does take the “snobby” element out of music, and creates more room for passion and creativity, and not just technical skill.
Chinese Nü Yr features Iglooghost's old friend Mr. Yote on one track, as well as a new collaborator named Cuushe, a “super cool” singer-producer from Japan. “She has really amazing taste in melodies,” Iglooghost says. “Her stuff sounds wide-eyed and childlike but is also introspective, like a genius baby.”
In addition to music, Iglooghost loves art. He designed the album art for Chinese Nü Yr along with art for his previous releases. “Marrying music and pictures is the funnest thing ever,” he says. “There's so many subconscious elements at play. Looking at a 'mega-sick' picture can make even the most crappy, uncool song sound awesome. Art has this incredible way of subconsciously enhancing music.”
So what is an Iglooghost, exactly? That's something that should become clearer in 2016, “but they're very solemn and drift at a mournful pace,” the artist explains.
If all goes according to plan, Iglooghost will perform in the United States in early 2016. He says he hopes to meet the Statue of Liberty and play music for cowboys and cowgirls. Hopefully the visit will inspire him, and for Iglooghost's next release, xiangjiao will trade in his witch hat for a Stetson.
Chinese Nü Yr is available now via iTunes and other new-music outlets.