Circuitry of Ghosts – Installing the Relaxing Chips

Dakota Snaketail wears many artistic hats, including ambient musician, experimental filmmaker, artist, and writer. Based in Tyler, Texas, their musical output is spread across various projects, everything from the drones of The Flesh to harsh noise (Shadowpiercer) and lo-fi shoegaze (Where the Sea Meets Human Shadows) to his power electronics with his spouse, Wolfwitch.

Circuitry of Ghosts features downtempo electronics explorations laced with chiptunes, in the vein of early ‘90s video game composer Kazumi Totaka. Dakota describes it as “computer music for a dying world,” and while that’s a not a bad description or artistic aim, I hear joy in there as well.

In A Hallway, Forever Keepers (digital download: boasts memorable string synth lines and happy drum patterns similar to first generation Gameboy soundtracks. Slower beats and minimalist melodies open up a world of positive feelings with just a hint of melancholy to prevent it from being sugary. I’m reminded of images of happy faces or a side scrolling level of 8 bit creatures hopping up and down.

The bass drums pulses as sequenced lines climb up and down. A clap or cymbal hit will be augmented with a deep reverb or echo. Acoustic-sounding patches play alongside a music box gently tinkling or a series of plucked notes, like autumn leaves falling to the ground. Warm vintage synthesizer sounds keep things crackling but never noisy or frantic. 

The production is clean and uncluttered with only a few different instruments filling your ears on a given track. At around 45 minutes, the album never dulls and keeps a slight smile on your face. Dakota Snaketail wears many hats, and artists like this are needed in this world, as well as the 8 bit ones.

– Jeff Brown

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