Former Sugarcube Einar teams up with fellow Icelandic sonic wizard Curver...
Matt Harvey 2003
Einar Örn, former abstract rapper in Iceland's The Sugarcubes, is definitely coming in from the left hand side of the field (the bit in the corner where Psychic TV, Lee Perry and Uncle Bill Burroughs hang out). Ghostigital is weird and noisy, but never over the top or overtly self conscious - in fact it's a bit of a gem.
Crucial to the work's charm are the three rap tracks featuring one time Jungle Brother Sensational (the only artist I know who has bragged about the joys of rapping over Stockhausen). His American tones give the albums industrial surrealism an extra dimension - without them the work as a whole would be too insular and obsessive.
The other 10 tracks (which all have very different identities - they never mush into a incomprehensible whole) are a little more abstract. There's a cut-up quality to them, snatches of words and music repeated, examined and fetishized. Typical is the absurdist "Bank", in which an irate customer (I presume) repeatedly asks where his money is, accompanied by some filthy electro. The track reaches its conclusion when the customer finds the money in his pocket.
The album clearly has a dark side, as you'd expect given its country of origin. The opening "Suicide", squeaks along like the rusty gate at the entrance to hell. The voice on "Calm Water" is freaky and darkly psychedelic, seemingly spoken by a mad Uncle who has spent too long in the woods. "Thirsty Fly" and "Dirty Fly" suggest that Einar might have been watching too many David Cronenberg films.
The album is produced by Curver, the man most famed for his work with Icelandic Rock Gods Minus. It feels like a meeting of minds; there's nothing sloppy about Ghostigital - this music sounds like this because this is what they wanted it to sound like.
Some people (according to Einar) find his music confusing and irritating - and it's definitely not going to be everyone's cup of tea. But, for all the music's 'experimental' qualities, it still feels like a collection of songs - and this structure stops the album crawling up its own backside. A good stocking filler for anyone with catholic musical taste and, if you happen to be of the genus Troll, a sure way to get the family party rocking.