By: Leann Bescript
Christmas Eve, I spent all morning running around the mall like a chicken with its head cut off. The traditional music was blaring, floating around in my brain with images of my extended family painstakingly making small talk in our holiday best.
Finally, someone offered me something that provided some escape from the holiday stress (that wasn’t illegal drugs), and that is the second compilation from Ghostly International to be featured on Adult Swim, Ghostly Swim 2.
Ghostly Swim 2 upholds a constant flow that feels more like a motivating soundtrack than a random mash-up of music from various artists.
I started listening to the compilation straight-through, and it was the most adventure that I’d ever experienced while sitting in mid-day holiday traffic. It felt like a sweet cleansing of all of those hideous christmas melodies.
It begins with “Holo” by Pascäal, which immediately captured my attention for the fact that it felt like I’d imagine being questioned by aliens in their space language might feel. I needed to answer, but couldn’t, so I just bobbed my head in affirmation instead. The sounds eventually become much more dynamic, and seemed to be putting on a show for my amusement, rather than requiring a reply.
Things swiftly pick up from there, getting right into the second track without so much as a pause, “Tide Pools” by Shigeto.
Although I was more than hooked by then, I quickly realized that these first two tracks were just softening me up to bend to the compilation’s every whim.
I had barely noticed when the steady run of Shigeto suddenly became the quicker-paced “Grapevine” by Anenon, and continued quickly with no end in sight. Before I could groan a complaint, I had helped load all of the presents into the car. Time was passing fast, and I was just going with the flow.
I couldn’t wait to make the drive to my grandma’s house, just so I could continue living in this atmosphere of beats that were exactly my speed, constantly progressing but not rushing around red-faced like my mother.
By the time I got into the breaking point of “Spilt Out in Cursive” by Lord RAJA, I realized hadn’t yet stopped listening, and found myself sitting in the middle of my family party with headphones in.
The uncle seated closest to me kept on speaking loudly over the subtly heartbreaking tune. I had to pause it to answer his questioning, and when I told him I was “listening to electronic music for an article”, his response was: “OH! YOU SHOULD WRITE ABOUT HOW THE KIDS LOVE THAT BASS WHEN THEY ARE ON ECSTASY!”
“Ah, if only you could understand the beautifully intricate subtleties of RAJA, Uncle Kenny,” I thought to myself.
I wanted to be mad but I just laughed it off while bopping along to the super catchy “Oil” by CFCF. How could I possibly be angry when this music just made me want to sway side to side and sip one of my step-dad’s expensive dranks?
Wrapping up with the closing few tracks, “Futurism” by Acemo was particularly exciting for me.
“Futurism” has some pick up, but is eventually reduced to a simple backbone and filled in with eerily realistic surrounds of heavy rain and wilderness to close out. This was really confusing for a moment, being that it was actually pouring rain outside.
I quickly stood up and turned around from my seat, thinking that someone had just opened a door behind me. I wound up looking pretty crazy to the rest of my remaining family members who weren’t already judging me.
I gathered up what was left of my dignity and huddled into the nook between the tree and my other uncle, (the one who doesn’t have teeth, and therefore could not question me) as I began again with the foot-tapping and head-nodding, newly motivated by the final track, “Lonely Planet” by Nautiluss, which ends in an overall positive note, without leaving the listener feeling high-and-dry, but rather, more so relaxed and content.
When it was all said and done, I had finished in time to have dessert, and open my presents! I swear it was the most enjoyable holiday party, to date.
This Christmas, I am just thankful for this well curated work of art, and the fact that my family is easy to drown out.
The first Ghostly Swim came out in 2008, so the second coming was highly anticipated and much appreciated by those of us that just simply might not have lived to see what Santa brought had we not had something to distract us from the Christmas Eve chaos.