Radio People is the latest project from Ohio-stalwart, Sam Goldberg. After a handful of solo releases under his own name on Weird Forest, 905 Tapes and the Emeralds-run Wagon & Gneiss Things labels, he debuted Radio People on an ultra-limited self-titled cassette on his own Pizza Night imprint. At that point, there was no way back and the only move was to push forward with this new cosmic beast. Two more short-run tapes followed and it was clear that this new chemically imbalanced synthesizer project wasn't just a quick hit one-off. Radio People is here to stay.
On this, his debut vinyl effort, Goldberg has compiled the best elements of those three, long-gone cassettes. This Dubplates & Mastering cut slab of wax is the strongest statement Goldberg has made, proving his talent lies far beyond ambient soundscapes and well into the world of pop-infused synthesizer chaos and kraut-inspired composition. Major hooks sit alongside dense planetary drones. Goldberg pairs rivers of polysynth tracery with deep shards of droning organs, minimal live percussion and a whole host of drum machine backbone. This really is the best of both worlds. Melodies suck you in, beats get your head bobbing and then you're sucked down a complex tonal wormhole of introspective loops and ambient synthscapes.
Pop song frameworks nestle themselves neatly beside somber soundscapes, sometimes jumping back and forth in the same track. Barely-there vocals foil the stasis, leaving the listener guessing and wondering if there's a ghost in the mix. Radio People's embracing of simple kraut rhythms to underscore the catchy, kosmische wanderings give this music an accessibility not present in much of Goldberg's previous work. It crosses boundaries and comes back and shows still untapped wells of talent and ideas in Goldberg's bag of tricks.