In the swarm of blunted beat-makers that has gathered around Flying Lotus and his perpetually impressive Brainfeeder imprint, Gaslamp Killer still stands out as a special talent. On his debut full-length Breakthrough he shows just why – a blind-folded free-run through a landscape of scrunched bass and sinister, electronic textures, all wrapped in a cloud of debauched mysticism more often found hovering over Gonjasufi’s place.
Sufi himself makes several appearances – all winners – while fellow master of the chopped ‘n’ screwed bassline, Samiyam, lends a hand to the off-key (and predictably off-kilter) Peasants, Cripples & Retards. The collaborations don’t stop there. Impulse (one of the album’s high points) is a lolloping, bleeping monster of a track, touched by the genius of Daedelus. Gaslamp stitches the best bits of his Brainfeeder compadres styles into his own weird patchwork, and the result is something bad and beautiful indeed.
Like his label boss Flying Lotus, Gaslamp packs a remarkable amount of ideas into one album. But whereas one of the only criticisms that could be levelled at Flying Lotus is a touch of over-indulgence, the 17 tracks on Breakthrough are wound tightly together, with just enough light to keep the abyss at bay. The spoken word Fuck, for example, offers an astute analysis of everyone’s favourite F-word, demonstrating the grammatical legitimacy of the sentence ‘fuck the fucking fuckers’.
In a massively overcrowded marketplace, Gaslamp is an exciting and important electronic bass conductor. Breakthrough is less searing than his live shows and DJ sets can sometimes be – but the energy is pumped into layers of detail and production sophistication that ensures the album won’t get tired quickly. A storming debut from a unique artist.
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Words: Adam Corner