g h o s t i n g – Telenights
Over the last few years, Ghosting’s1 debut has been featured by several top-name labels, including Adhesive Sounds and Dream Catalogue. The broken transmission classic came out much later in the scene than its unabashedly lo-fi sample curation aesthetic may initially belie: midway through 2014, in fact. The album is best described as the English-language counterpart to fuji grid tv’s prism genesis (produced by Ramona Xavier of Macintosh Plus, etc.): the tracks are all samples from late-night television, advertisements, public service announcements, and specials. If you’ve ever wondered what prism genesis would’ve sounded like across the pond, then this is it.
Telenights is best appreciated as a single unbroken television channel-flipping suite. Yeah, there are single tracks, but it’s difficult for one to grasp their scope and point when taken out of context. Ghosting only occasionally makes use of microsample repetition (a technique used by INTERNET CLUB, Infinity Frequencies, and Laserdisc Visions2), such as on “Halloween Special” and “Cathode Girl.” This keeps the album from sounding like a few seconds of good ideas that were stretched to fill time; Telenights is pretty impressive by the sheer range of samples. It’s as if the listener is being primed to a network that only shows advertisements and bumpers while promising programs that never air – especially on “Late Movie.” Hell, “We Will Return Shortly” has the only bit of programming in the whole album – a bit of smooth jazz – which implies that the true content is the commercials. Is it commentary on the pervasiveness of consumer culture? Who knows, but it’s sure cool to think about it.
The best part of Telenights is the very first track: that drugged-up “this CTV family Christmas special was brought to you by (unintelligible sexy slow jam).” It’s hilarious, and as much a joke on vaporwave as it is a legitimately good effect. Thankfully, there are plenty of other tricks to keep going: there’s vocal warble on “Channel 2” that’s pleasantly destructive, VHS static on “Telemiracles” and “Sleep Timer,” and clever repetition via a “let her go” sample on “Cathode Girl” – which, not to mention, has a pretty funny beginning in its absurdity. There’s some stereo screw on “Super Channel,” and of course one cannot forget the winking reminder that “use of this telecast without permission is prohibited” on “Sleep Timer.”
Telenights is a pretty cool album that successfully established its concept on the pervasiveness of marketing media and culture.
1. Brought to You By – (1:03)
2. Channel 2 – (1:28)
3. Telemiracles – (1:12)
4. Tonight – (1:49)
5. Wavelength – (1:08)
6. Halloween Special – (1:04)
7. Cathode Girl – (0:51)
8. Late Movie – (1:43)
9. Toshiba – (0:53)
10. We Will Return Shortly – (1:07)
11. Pontiac – (0:54)
12. Video Update – (1:10)
13. Super Channel – (0:54)
14. Sleep Timer – (1:20)
15. Technical Difficulties – (1;56)
16. Tune in Tomorrow – (1:27)
1Stylized as “g h o s t i n g”.
2Couldn’t think of another artist whose name started with “in.”