Ghostly affiliate Moodgadget Records exclusively releases music by up-and-coming artists; with the Nocturnal Suite, Moodgadget not only “exposes the diversity in electronic music” (the label’s mission statement), it unites dazzlingly talented, like-minded artists working in wildly divergent stylistic fields into a grand, unified whole. Like its predecessors, the Moodgadget-curated Rorschach Suite and Synchronicity Suite, the Nocturnal Suite plays like a lovingly assembled mixtape, compiling brief, catchy, electronic-minded pop songs built for obsessive repeat listening.
The Nocturnal Suite is eclectic, but even among its stylistic diversity (the liquid space-disco of Faux Pas’ “Rose’s Lament (Gadget Edit),” for instance, sits right next to Wild Yaks’ caveman-like “Crazy but Not Afraid,” which flanks 800Beloved’s Psychedelic Furs-esque anthem “Galaxies”), there’s a distinctly nighttime-y mood, folding acoustic guitars and sleepy vocals in with its distressed beats and synths. Daedelus’ remix of Praveen & Benoit’s “Chiaroscuro” clothes a distant clattering beat in ambient reverb swells and wisps of orchestral flutes; Bluejay’s “Blurry” wraps its bedroom electro-pop around a deliciously melancholy hook; City Center’s “Summer School” is an exercise in pastoral dream-beat, a psychedelic fog of a track that drifts like a late-afternoon beachside nap.
The Nocturnal Suite encompasses dance music, indie rock, synth-pop, experimental instrumentals—and, yes, electronic music—but its emotional core is its biggest asset. Even in the closing track, Daniel Johnson’s deadly serious cover of Sophie B. Hawkins’ 1991 classic “Damn (Wish I Was Your Lover),” the pea soup-thick production turns the jaunty original into a much more resonant affair; it’s a fitting end to a compilation that turns every genre it touches into perfect late-night listening.