Comparisons to Larry Heard are inescapable on this beautifully lush album from California’s Space Ghost. Tropical boogie meets mellow house on the perfectly titled Aquarium Nightclub: A homage to the natural world set against the richly-diverse backdrop of Oakland.
After Space Ghost’s first album Endless Light took to international airwaves and echoed out of cities from London to Los Angeles, Aquarium Nightclub brings back his signature lo-fi aesthetics with a fresh hit of inspiration from the natural world.
Melding irresistible vintage synths with a meditative groove, Aquarium Nightclub is a journey of sorts. Taking listeners on a tour through 80s house drums, lush synth landscapes, and deep bass melodies, the thirteen-track LP is as adventurous as it is restrained.
“I was watching nature documentaries while I was making the tracks, sampling some of the audio. I was imagining living in that world, diving underwater with fish, or swimming alongside a shark in shallow waters. It brought the tracks to life and pushed them further,” he says.
Growing up in a small town a few hours from California’s East Bay area, Space Ghost (Sudi Wachspress) moved to Oakland ten years ago to study at the California College of the Arts. In a city known for its vibrant cultural fabric and its experimental music scene, Space Ghost represents a new generation of young artists. His DJ collective Late Feelings, launched in 2013, has allowed him to find his own groove amongst monthly all-vinyl dance parties, where he plucks influences from various corners of the world.
“I became obsessed with the feeling I got from today’s Italian sound. Other styles like Burrell Brothers’ underground house or Larry Heard’s smooth pads mixed in with bubblegum pop and African boogie while making the record. Aquarium Nightclub is relatable but still different.”
More complex than last year’s release, Aquarium Nightclub shows off Space Ghost’s artistic hunger and unique sonic signature.
Kicking off with “Sea Snake Island,” a track that is best described as late 80s house melancholia is a beautiful dance of shimmering keys, drum machines, and sounds of the jungle. The single “Sim City” ft. Morgan is a classic Chicago house beast; dark but uplifting with heavy bass undertones, fuzzy drum pulse, and plenty of mysterious synth melodies. Other tracks like “Ocean Odyssey,” “Night Dive” and “Aquarium Nightclub” plunge into an ambient world of slow 80s funk, though always rooted in the Bay Area sound.
“These are not your typical dance tracks,” Space Ghost says. “With the song ‘Aquarium Nightclub,’ I imagined what it would be like inside that club, with everyone dancing to a slow watery song in a mellow peaceful groove.”
A product of record-collecting and dance party hosting, Aquarium Nightclub is a glittering postcard from Atlantis. Profound yet undeniably groovy, its mesmerizing tropical undertones promise a safe journey back to the endless days of summer.
The album artwork is designed by Space Ghost himself and the LP comes as a limited edition version printed on a silver laminated sleeve. A collectors piece by any standards. This has long since sold out everywhere you care to look. We were lucky enough to bag the last few copies.
Amazingly good electronic bliss to soothe your body and your mind. This album plays through like a classic long player should do. Slept on Deep House music for the late night disenfranchised.