Telenights is Ghosting’s second offering. A Vaporwave artist hailing from Canada, he has a faible for a certain world of artificial joy and synthetic emotions. Spanning sixteen tracks which themselves harbor an even greater amount of luxuriously fuzzy segues and bridges, the album is released in July 2014 on the frequently featured metropolitan visionary factory Dream Catalogue and available at Bandcamp. The artist stylizes his name as g h o s t i n g, and it is here on this release that moniker and album title form an exciting symbiosis and radiate the things to come. The term ghosting refers to phantom pictures that turn up during analogue transmissions or the play back of storage media such as your great-great grandfather’s infamous VHS tapes which are supercharged with tearing, flickering artifacts and blurry lines; just look at the front cover above to get the idea. And this is the welcome gist: Telenights encapsulates the fondness of, well, long-gone tape recording nights, advertisement marathons and other synth-underlined announcements. The real magic cannot be grasped by everyone, let alone by the dim-witted reviewer, but a specific clientele will undoubtedly dig the enthralling atmosphere. Read more about this analogue aureole below.


Oh Canada, how the world loves your CTV Christmas specials. The opener Brought To You By is fittingly exuding the flavor of plastic snow and smoke machines as various collages, sampled tidbits and mock-ups pass by and let the listener absorb the slowed-down tunnel vision of yesteryear. Channel 2 follows, and it is here where Ghosting revs up the public service announcements via vitreous technicolor chimes and fuzzy snare drum alloys. Now that the topic, topos and topaz are altogether put into place, the rest of the album is a pure joy, noteworthy for its utterly strict focus on pico-vignettes and flashing heirlooms of TV’s worst moments turned into great Vaporwave cataracts. It is therefore pointless to review the upcoming fluxion in greater detail, although hilarity, enlightenment and translucency do indeed ensue and make a further inspection worthwhile.


Occasionally, Telenights ventures into darker and more emaciated realms: Tonight for instance is comparatively recondite due to its 80’s Korg dark matter pads but is soon revved up by tele-gymnastics instructors and chintzy Synth Pop flumes, presumably off a Sega Genesis advertising (or whatnot), with the follow-up Wavelength proving to be a gorgeous ambientscape of softly whooshing trade winds, frequency afterglows and mellow seagulls. The lure of the whole album up to this point – and ever-forward – is the kaleidoscopic zoetrope, the sequence of events, the oscillating fugacity that is not only cleverly embodying the very motif of Vaporwave, but also somehow captures the scents and sense of concept albums. There are people out there who deny Vaporwave such a profound nucleus, but here they are off the track.


In a way, Telenights is even more akin to so-called Plunderware or Plunderphonics LP’s than Vaporwave, but that may be up for debate. Two albums come to mind which are similarly keen on displaying Ghosting's helicoidal production technique: everyone’s millennial favorite from Australia, The AvalanchesSince I Left You (2000) and its melting pot of 700+ samples on the one hand, all cleared and legally used, and The Tape-Beatles’ Music With Sound (1991) with its witty remarks, unique skits and juxtaposed lobby atmosphere on the other hand. Heck, even vintage 60's material by Spike Jones comes to mind. Naturally, Vaporwave aficionado Ghosting does not try to be funny throughout the release, but witty he is nonetheless; Pontiac for instance is simply based on an elasticized advertisement for the classiest of all chintzy cars, whereas the adjacent Video Update unites the beautifulest (?) sax-underlined thermal heatwave with a blabbermouth; the same happens in the Nintendo-oriented ode Super Channel.


Whatever Ghosting touches and weaves into the LP turns out to be short, sometimes way too short, regardless of the elasticized state. The reason is obvious, for the artist injects advertisements which better be brief, considering the astronomical amount of dough per ten seconds in a time when television ruled the world. The listener hence does not really receive 16 tracks in total, but can easily triple the amount, for the time-related boundaries of each track are mere hulls and containers for laser pulses, beefy male voices, lascivious female counterparts and synth scythes amid Funk freshness. In the wake of these scintillating incidents, the apotheosis and endpoint Tune In Tomorrow is trenchantly enough the only long-form track of 90 seconds that is streamlined, whitewashed and based on one premise only: the wish to turn on the TV each and every day when the program schedule is renewed, ready for the skilled zapper to return. Lift muzak underlines this plea… and makes it a subliminal order.


Ghosting’s Telenights is a special – read: remarkable – album in that it unites Vaporwave with the NTSC rainbows of yore. This has been done before and ever since. But rarely has this conglomeration of Vaporwave and TV memories been envisioned at all costs, aesthetically speaking. This is not an omnium gatherum televistarium, no, this is it: the truth. I presume, but can’t say for sure, that Ghosting is more of a curator than a creator amid this turbulent but tasty hodgepodge of announcements, advertisements and coruscating shimmers. The artist applies filters and frequency benders rather than unique melodies, let alone sophisticated tone sequences. But maybe I’m wrong and there are some juicy original bits injected. This pondering notwithstanding, the artistic vision that is poured into Telenights is certainly languorous and luring, bringing back fond faux-memories of something a lot of Earth’s recent inhabitants have not experienced themselves. And so Ghosting’s second outing is worth anyone’s while with an affection for the 80’s, obscure television formats and jingles. Whether it is wise for the artist to deliver this very formula time and again will be seen in the future. The concept is already retrogressive and antediluvian. And that’s meant as a huge compliment.


Further listening and reading: 


Ambient Review 367: Ghosting – Telenights (2014). Originally published on Aug. 20, 2014 at