The Gaslamp Killer is finally about to drop his debut album Breakthrough, fitting in with Brainfeeder’s roster perfectly, an eclectic and twisted assortment of beats, samples and eccentricity we have come to expect from GLK. It’s been a long time coming, but well worth the wait.
Anyone who has heard of him would be familiar with his DJ style, especially through his mix CDs, Gaslamp Killer, All Killer, Akuma No Chi Ga Odoru, Hell And The Lake Of Fire Are Waiting For You! and A Decade Of Flying Lotus. The mad-as-a-hatter psychedelic musical journey will bore into your brain, like a sledgehammer, but with trippy textures that have stood him apart from his contemporaries. We have been teased with two 10″ private press EPs, My Troubled Mind and Death Gate, as well as his production on GonjaSufi’s debut A Sufi & A Killer, and while they have hinted at a certain direction, GLK seems to still manage to surprise. In his recent mixes he has shown a love for broader sounds, with dubstep bass wobble become prominent, and while this may sit well in a mix, or in a club environment, I for one hoped this would not become the dominant sound. Let’s face it, we don’t need more jumping on that bandwagon.
So, it was an absolute joy when the album preview landed in my inbox, I instantly wanted to start typing these words … qhat I heard was full of surprises, so much so I just had to give myself more time to absorb it, bumping it many times this week on the home stereo, in the car, wherever and whenever I could! What we get is a fluid and varied album, not just a collection of tracks, showing every side of himself, from straight up dirty drums, eastern sounds, electronic experiments, and a sense of fun.
GonjaSufi features again on ‘Veins’ and ‘Apparitions’, with the dominant strings on “Veins” heightening the vocals nicely, while “Apparitions” takes a simple Turkish psych blend and flips it into a mellow psych trip. Computer Jay adds syrupy synths to the plodding beat of ‘Holy Mt Washington’ with infectious looped whistle, managing to be soothing and menacing at the same time. Mophono features on ‘Critic’, eastern samples over an incredibly original sluggish beat, simplistic, but effective. ‘Dead Vents’ brings out organ stabs, rolling live drums and guitar twang with the help of Adrian Younge and MRR (of MHE and MRR-ADM). ‘Flange Face’ hits a more dubstep territory, without really being dubstep, middle eastern strings battle with a half-step beat, punishing synthesizers, modulated tones, and what sounds like the sound of a pedestrian crossing telling us to walk. Daedelus features on ‘Impulse’, continuing this overloaded electronics theme, with swirling tones that collide and scatter the sounds around your brain, converging on a tribal rhythm that underpins the electronics before dissolving into the bastard son of jazz. ‘Meat Guilt’s featuring RSI centres on rolling drum breaks and modulated tones, giving us a near perfect beat track.
‘Nissim’ dishes up what we expect from GLK’s love of Turkish psychedelic music, and while he may have been criticised for using large chunks of tracks as samples, the result is refreshing. ‘Keep It Simple Stupid’, featuring Shigeto, does exactly that, drums and drones, with some super sharp hi-hat patterns for good measure. GLK can drum after all. Dimlite joins GLK on ‘7 Years Of Bad Luck For Fun’, adding his complex electronic textures to a straight drum track. The texture is all in the modulation of the sounds, this one really scowls. GLK takes us out with ‘In The Dark…’, sounding like it’s been plucked from an imaginary new John Carpenter movie, the ghostly voice of GonjaSufi seeping back in all too briefly. The album has a very personal approach, with some great little interludes, especially ‘Mother’, the man knows who to thank, and he even gives us an education on the f-word.
Breakthrough is a great album, full of life, texture, and that madcap personality that comes out in GLK shows – you need this in your life. Available in all the usual formats, vinyl, CD, digital download (which is included with the vinyl!), and even a limited edition vinyl version on double 10″ in gatefold sleeve. This is only available from his website.