Fluid Ghost
Submission Deluxe
Mother Solitude Records

Adriano Iacoangeli has been releasing tracks as Fluid Ghost since 2021, taking the classic euro darkwave template of his main project with Cecilia Dassonneville, Echoberyl, and tweaking it towards an electro sound. It’s a formula that has worked well thus far; the music on the various EPs and last years full length effort Persuasion Deluxe have solid club appeal without losing Iacoangeli’s moody atmospheres. Submission Deluxe sticks close to that game plan, and while it suffers from some sameyness in spots, it does trace some welcome new angles and ideas.

It should be said that one of Fluid Ghost’s big strengths thus far has been in how well the project has established its musical identity. Tracks like “Submission” (and the edit of it that open the record) should be easy for anyone who has spent any time listening to the project to ID; the thick bass and snappy drum programming have a goodly amount of synthwave and body music tropes laced in to them, enhancing the track’s steamy come hither vibe. It’s the mode of a lot of these tracks, and while it certainly works for many (the groovy “Sweaty Back” and hypnotic “Ride Me” are standouts for club play), still others fall behind for lack of a solid hook or melody – “Memory Extraction” comes off like a retread of the title track, and the deep rolling low-end of “Crossing Gambetta at Night” isn’t powerful to overcome its thin synth lead.

Fluid Ghost has the sexy club tune pretty well-locked in by now, so hearing the project try its hand at some more trad-darkwave ideas ends up being pretty welcome. “Anoxia”‘s has a little goth rock flair to it, with bass and a lead could be just as easily executed on bass and guitar as synths, and Iacoangeli going for a post-punk monotone rather than the vocoded delivery he normally employs. “The Curtain” goes in a comparable direction, albeit with a more continental and minimal energy, its shuffling rhythm accented by plinky synthlines and crooned vocals.

At thirteen tracks total, Submission Deluxe is a bit too long to take in as an LP, with the weaker tracks sandwiched together in the middle allowing the listener’s attention to wander. A bit of judicious editing and rearrangement could take the record from being a pleasant enough listen to a solid DJ must-have.

Buy it.