Every year there’s always that one album an artist releases that truly blows us away. For 2018, it is hands down Crystal Cathedral from GHOST DATA. This review is special, because for the first time we were able to personally talk with the artist (GHOST DATA) on what his inspiration and ideas were for this album, but before we delve into the album itself, let’s explore who GHOST DATA really is.
Born in 1992 in Watertown, NY, Xzaviyer Hoffpauir started producing at the early age of 19 years old! After becoming tired of DJ’ing, Xzaviyer was influenced by video game composers such as, Nubuo Uematsu and Shoji Meguro, as inspirations into diving into the world of music production. Other artists such as Porter Robinson and Deadmau5 were also further inspirations for the musical journey Xzaviyer would soon embark on.
When asked what his idea behind GHOST DATA was, this is what he had to say:
“GHOST DATA is a project I wanted to do to try to break the mold of normal banger tracks in EDM. I wanted GD to bring back melody and story. Because back in the old days, bards were story tellers, and I feel like most producers these days don’t have a story anymore.”
It was this response that truly resonated with me because I’ve always been most fond of artists who tell a story through their music. And with Crystal Cathedral, a melodic story of epic dreamscapes awaits. As with his previous several albums, this one also revolves around a character known as The Shepherdess.
“GHOST DATA is my love of the occult and my love for technology coming together. My music is best described as melody driven electronic music. Anime, film, and video games fuel my creativity.”-Xzaviyer Hoffpauir
The album itself opens with the beautiful orchestral version of “Magical Girls”, which instantly gives off a dreamlike quality with the heavenly vocals that accompany it. “Crystal Cathedral” is an automatic hit with its addicting lyrics, synths, and melodies. “Heart of Darkness” is probably one of my most favorite tracks from the album, with those signature Deadmau5 sounding plucks, a driving beat, uplifting strings, and beautiful vocals. “Iridescent” continues this ever unfolding story with its flawless melodic and euphoric tone.
“Girl! Girl! Girl!“, is another memorable tune featuring COR!S. The piano melody within this track is used superbly. “700 Sisters” is such a chill song, but tells a nice story especially thanks to the vocal talent of Mecha Maiko. “So Slow“, probably has the most memorable lyrics in the entire album. “I can’t take this“, seems all too relatable when you really listen to the song itself. “Bullet Witch“, brings back those plucks paired with a piano melody that almost reminds me of those signature melodies Above & Beyond are known for, but the uplifting tones and fast beat make it known that this is definitely a GHOST DATA track.
“Stained Glass“, keeps the album moving at a steady pace, while “Dark Harvest” really makes the best use of pluck notes with an outstanding chord progression. “Textlog Ritual“ is one of the more darker sounding tracks and probably the heaviest on the entire album. It’s also another one of my favorites for its fast-paced beat and action-packed melodies. “Agony’s Embrace” continues that darker tone with an amazing intro and beat that would make even Rezz get goosebumps. “Echo Chamber“ edges us closer to the end of our musical journey, with its synths really shine the most. Last but not least, “Summoning Circle” closes out the album in the best way possible. Giving us that dreamlike vibe just as the opening of the album did.
All in all, words can’t describe or do enough justice to how well-crafted this album is, and how much it truly impressed us. GHOST DATA didn’t just create an amazing work of art, or a memorable story, he created an everlasting masterpiece that will be revered for years to come. We can only anticipate how far Xzaviyer will go in the years to come and what he does next.
For more GHOST DATA, follow him on his socials: Spotify