Ghostly International is not your average music label. Its mission goes beyond the support of its artists and aims to shape the future of electronic music. SMM, an unknown acronym representing a department of the Ghostly International label, aims to break down the barriers that isolate classical minimalism, electronic music, drone composition and film soundtracks and to allow for a musical freedom that celebrates the cohesion of these various styles of sound. GI and SMM have finally released their first compilation LP SMM: Context by uniting musicians from all over North America and Europe.
SMM proudly supports slow-moving compositions that highlight texture rather than melody or rhythm, and SMM: Context is an ideal embodiment of that support. As the artists vary from piece to piece on the 11-track album, so does the sound, although the objective is clear—and consistently audible—ambiance. Tracks like Aidan Baker’s “Substantiated” and Svarte Greiner’s “Halves” are like looking into a moment of a symphony that is stretched out for minutes. The tracks combine electronics with manipulated sounds, never moving in a particular direction but naturally unraveling or experiencing a metamorphosis. Certain compositions more blatantly expose themselves through the use of acoustic instruments with only slight manipulation like the opening track, “Motion,” by Goldmund. Similarly, Leyland Kirby uses guitar sounds accompanied by celestial tones hovering between speakers, achieving a similar sensation to Brian Eno’s Music for Airports.
The compilation is beautiful, but the music likely will not hold your focus—unless you’re in deep meditation or a yoga class. While moving through the album thoughts invade your thinking like, “This would be the perfect score for a rainy-day-montage in a really depressing movie,” or “Did I eat breakfast this morning?” SMM: Context simply provides a platform for a listener to travel deep within their own consciousness. The music found on this album could be called unique and artistic, but it’s definitely an emotional journey that shouldn’t be taken frequently.