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SPECTORAL tells Jen his fav albums of 2018 so far.


Quiet achiever, Spectoral has announced his new single Movin’ On, an ominous dedication to a lovesick friend, out October 12.  “Movin’ On is the very first taste of the upcoming new EP An Incorruptible Dream from the producer singer-songwriter.” Also dropping on October 12, An Incorruptible Dream is an understated, considered and truly unique collection of songs from the newcomer. 

Spectoral tells Jen hi  favourite albums of 2018 so far.

This is easy for me on one hand because I consume crazy amounts of new music and create playlists for every album I’m into. But it’s also difficult to pick just a few, for the same reason! Thankfully the year ain’t over yet so who knows where the dust will settle, but here goes nothing… in no particular order, here’s five 2018 albums I’ve been enjoying and why.

1) MGMT – Little Dark Age

This album is the freshest indie I’ve heard all year. These guys have finally found this perfect balance between accessible pop structures and the left-field experimentalism they’ve wanted to keep going with since Congratulations… the best example is single “When You Die”. It also has the creepiest, trippiest video I’ve seen on YouTube all year, even more than the new Aphex Twin video, and that’s saying something. I also love their quirky bromance track “James” – it has this Empire Of The Sun feel to it.

2) Kids See Ghosts – Kids See Ghosts

This is only 7 tracks, so it just barely scrapes into LP territory at 23 minutes. Interestingly it seems to be a year of “less is more” albums: lots of shorter tracklist LPs have been released to more critical acclaim than much longer projects that seem chock full of filler to maximise streams. It’s always a confident move to cull an album down to just the strongest cuts and maximise replayability. Here I reckon Kanye and Kudi have truly squeezed the fullest potential out of one another, there isn’t one dud moment here and they manage to push hip-hop songwriting forward boldly and pack so many ideas into these tracks that aren’t even 3 minutes long. It’s something special.

3) DMA’S – For Now

When these Aussie boys dropped “Dawning” last year they got my attention… but when they released the gem “In The Air” early this year, I really got excited. Sometimes I think they’re channelling Ryan Adams, other times like on “The End” I think they have a more recent Arcade Fire influence. Their deeper cuts are real quality too, Warsaw, Health, Emily Whyte, just a very strong album from start to finish.

4) Lily Allen – No Shame

I’m loving how personal Lily Allen is on her new album. It addresses the fallout from her various drug related headlines a few years ago, people who critique her parenting, how lonely she’s felt at times and having very few real friends, the hardships of being a mum while being an A-list singer-songwriter star… so much is laid bare here. She even writes a song from her 3 year old’s perspective about herself, and it’s so sincere and kinda heartbreaking. Add to that I absolutely love the electronic hip-hop production she’s worked in here. She collaborated a lot with Fryars on this LP, and I’ve always been a big fan of his electronic singer-songwriter stuff.

5) deadmau5 – Where’s The Drop?

Ok, this was completely unexpected. Out of nowhere, Joel Zimmerman aka deadmau5 drops this 15 track symphonic orchestral masterpiece, reworking a tonne of his best tracks from across his decade-long career into these, like, Inception-level, Blade Runner-esque soundtracks that sound like Hans Zimmer made them. The centerpiece here is probably “fn pig – ov” clocking in at 8 and a half minutes of stunning emotional orchestral electronica.

Movin’ On feels evocative of some big names – Flume, Peking Duck, even Kanye West’s melancholy production style comes to mind – but there is something still so one-of-a-kind about it, something so uniquely Spectoral, that makes it such a special listen.  Instrumentation features co-production from Martiln (one half of Twofold Vision) and sees synths glide effortlessly alongside each other, ducking perfectly behind carefully placed percussion, while Spectoral’s distinctive vocal leads the way with intensely relatable lyrics.  Reflecting on the inspiration behind the track, Spectoral says, “I actually wrote this one about a good friend of mine.  We’d catch up and she’d always tell me news about this guy she was in love with.  Things never really worked in her favour with him because he was already taken – it was this kinda Love Actually moment for her I guess, just in reverse.  So anyway, we’d chat about it, and she just found it so hard to give up the dream of one day him being hers.  So this song’s about that.  It’s about accepting the loss and letting it go.”
Movin’ On appropriately precedes the highly anticipated EP An Incorruptible Dream.  Working alongside Tim Watt and Tim McArtney of Hercules Studio in Sydney (Flume, Touch Sensitive, George Maple), fellow producer Alius aka Sebastian Ivanov (Blake Rose, Arizona Jones) and musician Robin Waters (Ella Hooper, The Boat People), An Incorruptible Dream fuses pop, R’n’B and electronic influences flawlessly, all amongst a sparkling bed of confessional, well-crafted lyrics.  Spectoral explains the themes behind the EP, saying, “The name An Incorruptible Dream is a line from The Great Gatsby actually.  It’s this idea of always trying to reach for the unattainable, whether it’s a person, or a state of mind, or a level of perfection or success.  Unfortunately for Gatsby it blinded him and led to his downfall.  The EP explores this theme that is definitely in my life in different ways.  I  planned this EP back in January, but actually a couple of the songs here I’ve been sitting on for literally years.”
So it’s no secret that this EP has been a long time coming, especially for Spectoral’s dedicated fanbase – and Spectoral is thrilled to finally be ready to unleash these never-before-heard tracks onto the world, enthusing, “I’m so pumped!  It’s like seeing a little bonsai tree that you’ve been caring for finally sprout flowers…I feel like I’ve really nestled into my sound over the past year, thanks to the experience of working with so many awesome engineers and co-producers all over this project.  It’s been the most eye-opening and fun experience.”

An Incorruptible Dream is out October 12.

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