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Ghostly International


Label history

Ghostly International is an American independent record label. Chief artists include Matthew Dear, Dabrye (a.k.a. Tadd Mullinix), Com Truise, Tycho, Gold Panda, School of Seven Bells, Mux Mool, and Shigeto.

Ghostly International was founded in Ann Arbor, Michigan by Sam Valenti IV in 1998. Valenti grew up in suburban Detroit, where, having become a fan of underground music culture, he would sneak into Hip-Hop clubs by carrying records for his Detroit DJ hero Houseshoes. Valenti later became a DJ himself, taking the name of DJ SpaceGhost; this theme is echoed by the name and logo of Ghostly International.

Valenti met Matthew Dear at a house party that Valenti attended during his first week at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Valenti and Dear's shared affection for electronic music, particularly the sound of Detroit Techno, led to the label’s (and Dear’s) first 12 inch single "Hands Up For Detroit." Following this, Ghostly enjoyed early success with albums by Mullinix as well as Disco Nouveau, a compilation including artists such as ADULT., Solvent, Legowelt, Daniel Wang and DMX Krew inspired by the Italo disco movement of the 1970s and 1980s.

Since then the label has widened its focus to include groups such as Skeletons & The Girl-Faced Boys and Mobius Band, whose rock-based sound meshes with the label’s eccentric leanings. Also known for forward-thinking package design by the likes of Will Calcutt and Deanne Cheuk, as well as the Boy, Cat, and Bird logos of Michael Segal, Ghostly International aims to be a complete aesthetic experience.

Ghostly International followed up Disco Nouveau with two more successful compilation albums featuring its artists: Idol Tryouts and Idol Tryouts 2.

Ghostly International also runs a companion label, Spectral Sound, dedicated to more dancefloor-oriented music coming from some of the same artists on Ghostly (such as James T. Cotton, another moniker of Tadd Mullinix (a.k.a. Dabrye)).

Ghostly International and Adult Swim released a compilation album known as Ghostly Swim, available on Adult Swim's website for free. It was released with a bonus track on January 27, 2009 as a limited edition CD. A sequel to Ghostly Swim, Ghostly Swim 2, was released digitally on December 23, 2014, and on CD April 28, 2015.

The label has also been involved in the soundtracks for videogames. In 2014, Ghostly released a compilation album of new and previously recorded work by Ghostly artists to act as the soundtrack to the video game Hohokum. A year later, the first soundtrack to critically acclaimed videogame Minecraft by German musician C418 was released physically for the time by Ghostly as a vinyl LP on August 21, 2015, four years after its original digital release by C418.

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