Various Artists

Ghostly Swim, Vol. 2

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AllMusic Review by Paul Simpson

Ghostly International has had a long, fruitful partnership with Cartoon Network's late-night programming block Adult Swim -- hardly surprising, given that Ghostly founder Sam Valenti IV used to go by the moniker DJ SpaceGhost in tribute to one of the network's most iconic characters. The label's variety of forward-thinking electronic music has always been a perfect match for the network's trippy animations and offbeat sense of humor, and the two released their first joint compilation, Ghostly Swim, as a digital download in 2008. While that compilation primarily consisted of material by Ghostly regulars such as Tycho, Dabrye, and Matthew Dear, its sequel mainly spotlights artists from outside the Ghostly stable, much like Ghostly's SMM compilation series. Also similar to the SMM series, Ghostly Swim, Vol. 2 leans more toward the label's ambient side, although there is room here for atmospheric club tracks such as Dauwd's "Kolido" and Patricia's gritty, lo-fi "Spotting." The album has a few urgent moments, such as Anenon's jittery "Grapevine" and Feral's arresting, bass-heavy "Mirror," but these are contrasted by calmer ambient pieces like Heathered Pearls' Cluster-like "Supra." In a category of its own is "Oil," by the always-impressive Montreal wunderkind CFCF, which begins with minimalist, Reich-inspired percussion and moves to a low-slung house groove. The compilation's most surprising selection is the cascading, windswept "I Only Have Eyes for You" by Philadelphia-based harpist Mary Lattimore and multi-instrumentalist Jeff Zeigler, which does not appear to be a cover of the Flamingos' 1959 doo wop hit, but has a similar calmly euphoric feel. The compilation's CD release ends with a downtempo track by techno producer Galcher Lustwerk, featuring easygoing raps which culminate in the chanted refrain "everybody's in the place," possibly in reference to the Prodigy's 1991 hit "Everybody in the Place." The song's comforting, inclusive message is fitting for such a wide-ranging, open-minded collection of future-glancing electronic music.

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