fri 23/02/2024

CD: The Gaslamp Killer - Breakthrough | reviews, news & interviews

CD: The Gaslamp Killer - Breakthrough

CD: The Gaslamp Killer - Breakthrough

Decent debut from Brainfeeder label's prince of clatter and thrum

Underground electronica turns Gaslamp Killer into a hipster cyberman

Gaslamp Killer is Californian DJ-producer William Bensussen, beardy Weird Al Yankovich lookalike and one of the key figures in LA’s Brainfeeder label collective. His reputation began to rise around five years ago with an LA club night called Low End Theory that would play music rooted in hip hop and electronica, far from four-to-the-floor house - tending, in fact, towards the bizarre. His debut album is much anticipated by those who like their beats broken and their synthesisers gnarly.

Breakthrough, then, is a thoroughly enjoyable experience in that vein, albeit not as off-the-wall groundbreaking as the work of his singing associate Gonjasufi (who also guests).

The predominant mood is ominousness, but tempered with a warped dancefloor dynamic, as on the pulsing, doomy bleeper “Impulse” (with Daedelus), the Morricone-esque “Holy Mt Washington” (with Computer Jay) or the final “In the Dark”. In fact, the album ends with a brief bonus track on which a mournful trumpet accompanies a child saying, “This is the way the world ends.” There’s much else to enjoy, however, and things never become bogged down in gloom. Middle Eastern strings boost the single “Flange Face” (with Miguel Atwood-Ferguson) and “Nissim” (with Amir Yagmai) is a thoroughly bouncy upbeat number pinned to a jolly bouzouki motif.

There are also plenty of vocal sampling amusements, notably what sounds like a crusty old recording from an ancient language guide LP – but may well be a clever imitation – of an academic-sounding gent describing the mulltiple uses of the word “Fuck”, or there’s a sweet section in “Mother” where (I presume) Bensussen’s mum describes him as a little boy – “You were a tiny little guy doing the dance of the robot”. He’s bigger now but he’s still down with those robots and his debut is a smart journey through pleasingly unpredictable corners of electronic dance.

 Watch a short, snappy, insightful film about Gaslamp Killer

The predominant mood is ominousness, but tempered with a warped dancefloor dynamic


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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