Wednesday, 18 December 2013
Review of "Aleph" by Gesaffelstein
Aleph is a cold and dark techno journey through futuristic hell. The Dr Frankenstein behind this brilliantly evil creation is a Frenchman named Mike Lévy (aka Gesaffelstein (I hope I've spelt that correctly (lots of brackets!!!))). He produced two tracks on Kanye West’s Yeezus. It seems I can’t write a review nowadays without Kanye’s name making an impromptu appearance.
I first discovered Gewafflestein after being exposed to his bass-heavy monster of a track, “Pursuit”. The impressive music video with its slow, suspenseful zoom-out shots might just be my favourite music video of the year. However, it’s the menacing nature of the music that helps the video to be as powerful as it is. I’m used to metal bands like Meshuggah and Rammstein chugging out such aggressive melodies. The ability to create such melodies electronically is clearly Gelatospleen’s signature.
Every beat on Aleph feels as if it were punched out on an assembly line in some dimly-lit dystopian factory. Even the softer tracks such as “Nameless” and “Values” with their brooding instrumental build ups still seem to carry a largely robotic pulse. Vocalist, Chloe Renault, offers spoken word soliloquies on two of the tracks, her lyrics made up of abstract imagery. Combined with her strange accent (what is that? Parisienne-American?) it has quite a disorientating effect.
The album is an intense listen – perhaps a little too intense as a whole. All the tracks carry good ideas, but some of these ideas could be trimmed down into two-minute teasers in order to make the entire album more digestible in one listen. Brevity is the soul of wit.