Review: A Guy Called Gerald – “How Long Is Now”; Shifted – “Razors”

The year is coming to an end and perhaps the whole world too, on Dec. 21st. Perhaps you still have a small budget left after buying presents for your beloved ones, to spend on new music. Or maybe you still have to hand over your Christmas wish list to your relatives. Or you simply want to squander your last money now since the Earth will cease to exist in less than two weeks. Whatever may be the case, here are some suggestions.

Bosco021_CoverArtworkWebAThe Italian label Bosconi, based in the beautiful region around Florence, has already released some prime records from quite a few top international artists. Their latest ep comes from none other than A Guy Called Gerald, a Mancunian by birth but he has lived in several other big cities such as Berlin. Really, I do not deem it necessary to introduce him to you, because in the course of his career (which span over a quarter of a century already), he has written music history. Indeed, if someone took it up to compile his memoires, he/ she would easily fill several hundreds of pages. But why commence such an affair, as Gerald Simpson is still very active in the scene? This three-track record again demonstrates his ongoing zest and his boundless experience.

The title “How Long Is Now” is taken from a drawing and inscription at a wall of the Tacheles block in Berlin, the famed building on Oranienburger Straβe housed by artists of all sorts and where Simpson had a studio. The structure has only recently been closed down. The same titled first track is soaked in deepness and perfect for the moment when dawn creeps in; its slow pace and pulsating sounds have the capacity to prolong the night vibe. A similar profundity and unhurriedness is present in “The Groove Of The Ghetto” though here Simpson has added typical house elements such as black vocal samples, congas and a guitar lick which work just right. Lastly, “202” seems to be more rudimentary though it is equally well-crafted. But it is the overt contrast between fat, low pitches and high tones that makes for an interesting and apparently scouring texture.

MOTE033_Shifted_CoverArtworkWebAnd if the Earth hasn’t blown up because of some Mayan curse, Shifted has made sure 2012 ends with a blast. Luke Slater’s Mote Evolver just brought out a new ep by this talented, London-based producer consisting of four expressions of pure electronic savagery. You can notice how the man has evolved in a more consisting and more distinctive direction, although his debut album (on the same label) from earlier this year already proved his potential. Shifted‘s tracks remind one of the works of the big names in British techno but they do have a particular individuality as well.

I do not say this unthinkingly. Listening to “Bloodless”, I could not help recalling productions from the U.K. from around 1998: it has a similar looped structure, rather uncomplicated beat pattern and metallic sounds on top. Moreover, it openly flirts with an industrial (let’s just call it warehouse-like) sensibility, which obviously makes it appropriate for a certain kind of techno venue. The beat in the opening “Razor” is in its turn more thudding; it substantiates an admirably efficient piece of hypnotic repetition.

All of the pieces can be played relatively slow to really fast. In the first case, the intoxicating effect will be pertinent, in the latter case these will be menacing mischief-makers. Think about it, the Mayan jinx may have come in the form of dark techno.

A Guy Called Gerald – “How Long Is Now” is out on vinyl since December 1st (vinyl) and will be out on December 24th (digital)

Track list:
1. How Long Is Now
2. Groove Of The Ghetto
3. 202

Shifted – “Razors” is out since December 10th

Track list:
1. Razors
2. Over
3. Bloodless
4. Trouble

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