Wed July 28
1001 SE Morrison
Operating just outside of techno's American birthplace, Ann Arbor, Michigan's Ghostly International has become a label whose releases people obsessively follow and collect. Marked by distinctive graphics and quirkily cute ads and merchandise, Ghostly cut through the visual humdrum of electronic music's status quo to stake out unique ground in its five-year history--building a global fan base and garnering respect from the world's top DJs. It's cause for celebration.
"It's that humanity, that melodic and personal feel," says Ghostly boss Sam Valenti IV when asked about his label's unifying thread. "Nothing we do feels alien, it is all on human scale. Music about music is boring to me, [Our] goal is to remain on the edge, furthering our relationship to the world in a way that makes it feel even more indelible. Our fan base is not fixed; one segment doesn't make or break us. It's the outliers and people you wouldn't be able to pick out in a lineup that are our fans. I hope we keep releasing accessible but earnest electronic-tinged music that helps to elevate the art form of electronic music in this country."
Though it only scratches the surface of the company's deep roster, the Ghostly Art and Artifice tour exemplifies the label's diversity and excellence. Midwest Product's knowing melodic jouissance tips a Korg toward New Order and peddles suburban electro-funk beats that eat Trans Am's exhaust. Dabrye (versatile Tadd Mullinix) brings an orchestral sweep and crisply lush tunefulness to the glitch-hop arena, giving Prefuse 73 a run for his Akai MPC. Matthew Dear--creator of microhouse-pop classic Leave Luck to Heaven and new gem Backstroke--is one of the few Americans challenging the Germans and Canadians for experimental-techno supremacy, with productions that rock dancefloors and stoke libidos. Finally, whippersnapper SV4 (Valenti himself) spins hiphop, disco, techno, house, and IDM. We'll see if his deck skills match his business acumen.