Irish born producer Seamus Malliagh, more commonly known as Iglooghost, has made a small name for himself in more than a few different music circles over the last couple of years.
Initially approaching music as a beatmaker for a handful of relatively experimental underground hip-hop musicians–including Scallops Hotel aka Milo, as well as Kool A.D. of Das Racist, Malliagh eventually began to release solo work in addition to his playing the producer role for this eclectic assortment of rappers.
Iglooghost’s solo work, while still maintaining influences from hip-hop and a variety of its sub-genres, might sound to some unlike most hip-hop out there. This career trajectory makes a lot more sense when one looks at the hip-hop producers Iglooghost began his career in collaboration with, and finds that indeed, those rappers occupy a niche sect of the hip-hop underground that itself sounds unlike most other hip-hop out there, making Iglooghost’s unique blend of Arca-esque glitch hop and bright and bouncy wonky glitch a-la PC Music fit snuggly in among their ranks.
Iglooghost’s solo albums and EPs take much the same approach as his behind-the-scenes producer work: That of fitting comfortably within the rising “glitch hop” scene of the 2010s, while also eschewing many of that scene’s darker tones and sinister offbeat melodies with a buzzier, brighter, almost manic approach. Where Arca might strive to drown the listener in a pressing heavy darkness, Iglooghost instead throws the listener headfirst out of an airplane made of cotton candy and mutant kittens.
The specific technical approach of Iglooghost has gone through slight variations over the years, but he’s always maintained this same distinct aesthetic throughout his various stylistic changes. His latest single, “White Gum,” released on Flying Lotus’s Brainfeeder label (with which Iglooghost has been associated over the years), is simultaneously Iglooghost’s greatest departure from his well-established production approach and the greatest reinforcement of his signature aesthetic since he first began releasing music as Iglooghost.
There’s always been a certain sense of “wildness” to Iglooghost’s music, but its never been so aggressive before “White Gum”; his usual approach to rapid-fire cut-and-paste to production (a deliberate assault on the senses, riddled with suddenness and that is something close to the aural equivalent of jump-cuts) is applied not just to the expended bubblegum bass-adjacent wonky tones and alt-hip-hop samples, but has now found form chopping up a hard and heavy grime track.
Iglooghost takes the foundation of a fairly standard grime track and cuts it up, puts it back together, and utterly warps the whole thing until it sounds like a barely human grime emcee rapping in a hyperactive, alien language. It feels hectic and unpredictable, but also oddly precise and focused, with each enunciation drawn from the original grime track feeling like a precise stab into just the part of the listener’s conscience Iglooghost is aiming for; this aspect of “White Gum’s” aesthetic is what makes it so distinctly Iglooghost above all else.
Seamus Malliagh’s music has always been defined by a certain interplay between the untamed and the meticulous; this is to say, while Iglooghost is generally very good at creating atmospheres of maddened unpredictability and blissful fever-dream randomness, but while doing this, Malliagh is leaving nothing up to chance, himself having insisted in the past that he feels unwell should his finished product not sound identical to what he envisions in his head. What makes Malliagh remarkable as a producer is his ability to disguise that fact, to control every aspect of a sonic atmosphere while completely hiding any notion of rhyme or reason from the listener (almost always to positive effect).
“White Gum” may display a slightly darker edge than one might expect from Iglooghost’s usual violently happy approach, but ultimately, this is the most “Iglooghost” Iglooghost has ever sounded, and it will be interesting to see just how many more departures his work in the near future will make from the “Iglooghost” production formula while still remaining utterly distinguishable from nearly anything else on the scene.
Stream the new single here from the official Brainfeeder Soundcloud