Phantasmagoria are composing a sonic travelogue. The Detroit duo, lighting for the ostensible territories of dance-pop, are diverging from beaten paths of past icons. Free as they are (due to their youth) from any dogmatic rooting of electronica’s influential (looming, overshadowing) oak trees, these hip-hop appreciative music hikers are reverent enough of the previous maestros in experimental ambient-inclined beat-arrangers and loop-happy producers, the Moog-clutched pioneers and the Club/house-music champions – yes, yes, keyboardist/programmer Christopher Jarvis and percussionist/lead-vocalist Liana Vanicelli impressively exhibit marked (and marvelously re-inventive) takes upon all those tropes, danceable and cerebral. But long-story short: Phantasmagoria are singing (and synthesizing) their own story. The fuzzy layers of atmospheric synth effects, the echo-scuffed machine-gun beats from their buzzy sequencers and the dream-pop evocating loopy-purring bass booms and those breathy lullaby lead vocals will all likely sound familiar to most electronic-dance-music aficionados. But, dig into their tracks a couple minutes further and you strike into a fresher soil, inviting crustier, organic timbres from acoustic elements (bongos and banjos) onto their synth-pop spaceship.
“Where do we go from here?” coos Vanicelli over whistling, whirling synths and fleet, fuzzy organs, a melodic chanted refrain during “Vital,” a telling song in displaying their inclinations to branch out, even if its past a six-minute song length and even if it blends disco-beats with distorted discharges of noise experimentation, cheery new-wave chimes with moody trip-hop balladry, whatever-slam it all together. In a sense, all the sanctified stuff’s behind them, they are the next class of electro-composers writing their own course. “Where do (they) go from here…?”

About the Author

Jeff Milo
Jeff Milo
Jeff is another awesome member of the iSPY team.