Friday, 28 September 2012

The Gaslamp Killer - Breakthrough (Brainfeeder)

Let's wash our brains! And feed 'em whilst we're at it - by feeding our ears perhaps something will drip through into the grey matter - you never know. Bensussen's got the tools, his kit, and he's a beast who'll beat you into submission - by the end of this album, we're all slaves to the rhythm.

OK, OK, this is nothing New, breakbeat your way back through time to Shadow, Wall of Sound, Ninja Tunes etc, but this here is mighty strong material all the same - and besides, we've given up on hopes for the Shock of the New in sound, haven't we? Of course, but put aside musological theory, prof, 'cause here's the low-end, high end, hard'n'heavy deal straight outtah LA, where this may be incredibly hip, I dunno. I live in London Ta-hn, where we've been bouncing the breakbeat for decades - I've even played a lot as a DJ, and you can be damned sure I'd be caning this album were I still hunched over two Technics.  Dubstep, Low End, Grime, whatever, things splinter, fuse, mutate, as befits a scene based on cut, paste and plunder, to this, The Gaslamp Killer's debut album. Damn, it's good.

Where his mate FlyLo is sleek, Bensussen is course, but clever, brutal but smart in the way he forges iron-clad beats built to carry psychedelic steampunk machines. Gonjasufi's on board, of course, adding his unique vocal styling to a couple of tracks, the first, 'Veins', exhorting us to do him a favour and cut the veins out of our hearts, and you get the idea early on that there's an earnest, open heart attitude behind all this, without the need to say a lot. Bensussen means it, but what he means won't have a lyric sheet. It's the attitude that makes this album, the (dare I say) Punk spirit, albeit one influenced more by Rap that Rotten, I suspect - who knows? The medium may well be the message.

Whatever, I'm a sucker for the right kind of beat instrumentalism, and this album has it in spades, like 'Critic', or 'Dead Vets', a prog-hop gem, a gothic, grungy organ grinder of the highest order. 'Keep It Simple Stupid' is a brief but mighty blast of 'live' drumming with The Machine, but there are further outposts to explore, like '7 Years Of Bad Luck For Fun', a trip in stereophonic pan'n'brainscanning that's a real highpoint. The pressure rarely lets up, but it's the kind you willingly submit yourself to, prostrate before the beast in the machines, or the one controlling the machines. It's big, fat, fierce, and scuzzy, but there are cool-down moments, 'Nissim' being one joyful Eastern experience. Oh, and a funny show-off-my-samples track on which the narrator describes the various uses of the word 'fuck'.

Well, fuck, do yourself a favour and get this album.

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