One of Ripperton's many guises surfaces on Dutch imprint Tamed Musiq, having already done the business for Royal Oak and Sthlmaudio in the past. This EP represents the strongest qualities in the artist's repertoire, using a moody choice of melodic content and laying the beats down with poise. There are echoes of minimal in the softly, softly approach of "Out", not least when the groove finds its funk with just the right hat, but the synths alone make this an inviting track to get immersed in. "Africa" comes on all wistful and dreamy, but there's enough meat in the bassline and detail in the percussion to keep the mind locked in. "Roller" is more extrovert with its vocal hook and bare bones rhythm, making for the party oriented offering on a highly recommended release.
It's been nearly 20 months since Raphael Ripperton last donned the Headless Ghost guise for Clone's Royal Oak offshoot. While that release, the Frontend EP, was an exploration of hissing analogue deep house peppered with sly acid house references, Swept Illusions is an altogether more polished proposition. That's not meant as a criticism; if anything, the fizzing, Latin-influenced rhythms, twinkling electronics and sun-soaked pianos that dominate "Swept Illusions" are far more memorable. The remixes come from Genius of Time under their solo aliases. Dorisburg's 808 Dance Mix is a thrilling amalgamation of dense, tribal-influenced percussion, tough 808 drums and occasional foreboding electronic stabs. Arkajo takes a different approach, layering Balearic-friendly fiddles, pads and melodies atop a shuffling, low-slung groove.
Ripperton dons his Headless Ghost alias for three tracks of what he describes as "intuitive house". By this he presumably means that he made the tracks intuitively, laying them down quickly, using a mix of analogue and digital gear. Certainly, there's a freshness and fluidity to "Basik Fire", a basement-friendly fusion of hypnotic acid revivalism and intergalactic, Italo-influenced riffery. The fuzzier "SP3" - all vintage synth strings, drum machine rhythms and wonky melodies - is decidedly warmer and deeper (despite the ghostly melodies that pop up in the second half of the track), while "Yeeaahhhh" does a fine job mixing up crystalline synth appregios and cranky analogue piano house. Impressive stuff, all told.
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