Iglooghost’s Neo Wax Bloom is, unquestionably, the most fun record of 2017. Nothing else even comes close to the level of reckless abandon and hyperactive joy on show in this amorphous blob of an album, which is the best to come out of the Brainfeeder label since Flying Lotus’ Cosmogramma in 2010.
It’s not an easy album to pin down. The music contained within has a lot in common with drum ‘n’ bass and grime, but chopped up into an impressionistic splat and moving at extra light-speed. Like in grime production, there is a lot of empty space and use of found sounds, but instead of the characteristic gun clicks, these sound more like the noises that a two foot laser cannon might make while reloading.
Each song transitions into the next imperceptibly as in a DJ set, and truthfully the whole is so fast and disorienting that it can be difficult to pick out individual tunes. ‘White Gum’ is certainly a highlight: an enormous stomp of crashing breakbeat drums and grime vocals that have been chipmunked beyond comprehension. ‘Bug Thief’ is another, with its sticky and sentient keyboards warping around alien rhythms.
But the best way to listen to Neo Wax Bloom is not to pick out individual songs, rather to just let it wash over you in its entirety. I can’t help but think of this album as the musical equivalent of Katamari Damacy, for anyone who’s played that game. It’s like a huge, expanding ball of noise in constant motion, crashing through a surreal, whimsical landscape and absorbing everything in its path.
Neo Wax Bloom is fast and hyper-colourful in a way that could only have been put together by someone very young, and if you take a trip to Iglooghost’s bandcamp page it will tell you in uncertain terms that he is ‘13 YR-O OLD MAN FROM THE UK ◑◑ ＥＹＥＢＡＬＬ ＰＲＩＮＣＥ ◑◑.’ Whether or not you believe he really is thirteen years old (and honestly, a Google image search doesn’t rule out the possibility), one thing is certain: this kid is an electronic music prodigy.
No electronic album in 2017 felt so wildly creative, so head-spinningly complex and yet so simple in its childish innocence. The eleven tracks of Neo Wax Bloom were rhythmically combative and, fittingly, bore names that sounded like Pokemon attacks (one of them actually is). But also there was a kind of zen peace to be found in the eye of this record’s storm: a devotion to wildly imaginative silliness, even in the midst of chaos. I think 2017 needed that.