Cut from the royalty of a diamond and the residue left at an abandoned gathering, French producer Haunted Days unveils his debut album The Ballroom Tape via Parapente, and crafts a cinematic disturbance. Drenched in chill-hop, strings, and a gentle lo-fi caress, the double sided release alludes to the whimsical ideal of spirits — what seems to be — in limbo at an event. Overall the album is dark in its theory but also sees dreamy, optimistic moments and at times is subtly pensive.
The 11-track, instrumental collection sees an array of influences filtered through a hip-hop filter. Indie, jazz, and surprisingly even the subtle traces of post-punk are chopped and skewed to the producer’s conceptual mind. Opening with an atmospheric awakening, “Floating Over” acts as a catalyst towards “May I Have This Dance,” which is the first glimpse of the sensuality of a Gothic romance.
The accompanying visual for the track continues the overall haunting aesthetic and gives the album an aid in understanding the sonic textures. Regardless of the lo-fi polish, there are moments of suspense and articulated timing between transitions. A chilled anxiety is notably felt on the track “Free Fall” and manages to stay at a constant until the ethereal closer, “Empty Garden.”
As the first half of the album truly caters to a darker, somber atmosphere, the second half becomes more empathetic. Dreamier in its delivery, we get to hear freedom from Haunted Days. “Early Morning Walk” is a bittersweet lounge that utilizes the beauty of keys versus previous tracks heard thus far. Implementing the assuring and silver tone of Gene, alongside a fanciful idea and faded horns, “Incertitude Continuelle” is an instant favorite. It revives a pulse on the album and dips out of a saddened solitude to an empowered singularity.
Wrapping into the lead single, “Next Winter,” and its repetitive and looped cycles neatly close a chapter on an abandoned idea, person, or time. Haunted Days unveils a cinematic and casual aspect in his production for a rustic take of instrumental ambiance and is refreshing in its fluidity.