He’s French, mysterious and has helped pioneer a new sound in electronic music. The DJ and producer Gesaffelstein has recently released his first solo album. After numerous EPs, including many in collaboration with fellow French DJ Brodinski, Aleph showcases his distinctive style of electronic music at its best; intense, dark and industrial.
Ok, so it’s maybe not the kind of thing you play to your nan on a Sunday afternoon. But, it is different, interesting and showcases a new genre of French techno. With Brodiniski, Gesaffelstein and Boys Noize at the forefront of this intense, new and emerging sound, Aleph makes you pine to experience one of the dark underground Parisian clubs in which it first established itself. Over the past few years Gesaffelstein has become ever more prominent and respected in the electronic scene in Europe and over the pond. This has been caused by his various releases, production work (including Kanye West’s new album Yeezus) and basically killing it at every club and festival he’s performed. Just watch him at his Boiler Room set in Berlin last year – he took the crowd to a level rarely seen in Boiler Room videos.
With Aleph, Gesaffelstein has managed to create a collection of tracks each with his hefty signature sound, but they are all very different in their melody and emotional value. The album begins with the powerful ‘Out of Line’. The vocals have an almost tribal quality; clear and strong in their delivery and laid over a set of clear, stripped down beats. It’s a good introduction to the album and prelude to the intense and probably the most well-known track in the album; ‘Pursuit’. Along with ‘Duel’ and ‘Hate or Glory’, these are the tracks with the most hectic and penetrating melodies. They are undoubtedly going to be popular in his future DJ sets, but in fact the whole album will probably go down pretty well in a club.
Some songs are less heavy in their nature though, with a slower pace and sometimes even unsettling melodies, such as ‘Wall of Memories’, ‘Piece of Furniture’ and ‘Perfection’. Mid-way through the album is ‘Hellifornia’, which has an upbeat, fresh sound and undeniable hip-hop influences, likely due to his recent work on Kanye West’s track ‘Black Skinhead’.
Overall, Aleph is an excellent album and introduction to Gesaffelstein’s dark and powerful sound, proving that he’s one to look out for, and is going to be around for a while.By Victoria Watkins