- Ghost Culture makes house music with a dash of classic synth pop and a dishevelled British charm. His technical chops aren't in doubt, but he's struggled to do more than slot neatly into pre-existing boxes. The producer's pop-wise 2015 debut album seemed to be heading in the wrong direction, but Nucleus proposes an escape route from the cul-de-sac. Ghost Culture's voice is absent, and only the dreamy opener, "Coma," conforms to his usual house style. The track has a fitful glitch in its step, as the claps stutter and click as if jumping from minor electric shocks. This fractious quality shapes the rest of the EP.
That and a whimsical mode pioneered by a British artist whose initials are A and T. The remaining four tracks work as a set. Each deploys loose but intricate broken-beat percussion, rumpled synths drifting slightly out of tune and a gorgeous, warped nostalgia suggesting close listening of Richard D. James Album. The intensity rises steadily, from the brief, cheery "NGC1265" into "NGC1275," whose tangier percussion carries forlorn echoes of hardcore rave. Then there's "Perseus," in which moments of bubbling euphoria bookend a slyly funky breakdown. "ICO130" would be brilliant, too, if a heavily reverbed vocal sample didn't half-smother the music's weird, antique charm.