Ghostigital: Division Of Culture And Tourism - The Reykjavik Grapevine

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Ghostigital: Division Of Culture And Tourism

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Published September 4, 2012

Six years after their sophomore LP, ‘In Cod We Trust,’ the boys from Ghostigital are back with a new offering: ‘Division Of Culture & Tourism.’ Musically, it doesn’t stray too far from the last album, with its blend of tech hop beats and assorted electronic noises, but the production and mixing from Curver and Alap “Dälek” Momin feels smoother and more refined this time round. Tracks like “Trousers” and “Hovering Hoover Skates” pulse and gurgle with industrial efficiency, as if Perc Trax decided to do ‘80s hip hop instead of techno.
As with their earlier releases, ‘Division…’ is stuffed with collaborators overflowing with cultural capital, that range from the barely there (Damon Albarn, Dälek), to sublime and understated (Nick Zimmer, Sensational, Alan Vega), to redoing the song altogether (local electronic savants Stilluppsteypa remix “G-H-O-S-T-I-G-I-T-A-L”). The most realised and fun collaboration is on “Dreamland,” where David Bryne’s trans-fat basted Yankee teabagger duels with Einar Örn’s Prozac nation space monkey. Yes it’s actually as good as it sounds.
The crucial factor on whether people will like ‘Division…’ depends upon their opinion of frontman Einar Örn, the marmite of Icelandic performers. There’s no middle ground with this man—you either think he’s a demented genius or the biggest arsehole on the planet. But on ‘Division…’ he holds it together well. His vocals are twisted and mutated by the producers to inhabit a multitude of voices. It brings to mind the destroyed vocals on Death Grips’ ‘The Money Box.’ But whereas Death Grips’ incendiary style and flow resembles crack-fuelled urban warfare, Einar’s scattergun wordplay resembles that of childlike confusion over cartoon absurdities from language problems (“Busting”), to sitting in a dark room (“Dark In Here”). But he occasionally bares his teeth and snarls his frustrations on tracks such as “Don’t Push Me.”
For an album containing so many sonic inputs, this could so easily have been an over-bloated mess. It is thus impressive that Ghostigital manage to make ‘Division…’ both so out there and yet be so listenable, straddling the avant garde and the dancefloor with equal madness. It’s definitely more killer and less filler.

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