Ryan Torres is Ghost Memories, what appears to be a one man, retro 80s, synth soul, robo-pop troubadour. It’s difficult to ascertain exactly what’s behind those neon-lit shades and Torres gives precious little away on any of Ghost Memories’ social media, so we’ll just have to talk about the music then.
There’s a fair amount of Daft Punk going on here. Not so much in the rhythms, although DP’s more recent pop-funk is evident on many of the sonic choices here; but colours and visuals which go with this record are right out of Guy and Tom’s playbook. That said, Ghost Memories material comes from more of an 80s, hip-hop soul heritage rather than Euro-house. While I started with the submitted track, the lengthily titled, Time Was Passing Like A Hand Waving From A Train I Wanted To Be On, I had to check out some more. As I write this review, dear reader, I am being warmly drenched by the multi coloured, neo-psychedelic splendour of the album, The Night Left Us Behind, which is free to enjoy, in all its Pinky & Perky, vocoder glory, on the Ghost Memories SoundCloud page.
Discernable vocals are the exception rather the rule and we have to wait until track four, Stained Glass and Calligraphy, before we hear Ryan’s excellent voice sing, “I’m looking for someone to hold, someone to care, someone who’s there,” and we get a glimpse of the man behind the arpeggiator. So there’s angst here, maybe even the blues, but it’s been polished and buffed, had mirror tiles superglued to it and a thousand laser beams bounced off it in primary colours before we’ve got a chance to get to know Ryan too well.
It’s not all Bladerunner K-pop though, 70s piano and actual guitars come into play from time to time, adding a welcome organic vibe, reminiscent of the first Air album. Perhaps The Night Left us Behind is the album Air would have played the night before Moon Safari’s Sunday morning cool down. This record is Ryan’s soundtrack to the chilled party room, not the banging, four to the floor, mega-mix for the Spring Breakers, this is for the sophisticated hipsters, who like their drums and bass to be served with a wry smile and a drink with a pink umbrella in it. Track 10, Every Star is a Tiny Mirror Reflecting the Truth Inside You, (don’t you just love these titles?) is one of the few tunes this album has which might run the risk of filling a floor, but it never stoops so low as to actually drop what the Chemical Brothers called the boom, so this party never quite kicks off. It’s too cool for that.
Oh, and there’s some slap bass on the last song. Oddly, I don’t seem to mind.
So, grab your mismatched luminous socks, fire up the DeLorean, pour yourself a Babycham and get with Ghost Memories. The long walk home after the big night out just got some frickin’ lasers added to it.