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The Gaslamp Killer - Death Gate

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Artist: The Gaslamp Killer

Album: Death Gate

Label: Brainfeeder

Review date: Feb. 4, 2011

Death Gate is only 15 minutes long, but it feels way longer, mainly because the Gaslamp Killer (a.k.a. William Benjamin Bensussen) fits so much in to these five pieces. He throws in full-on synthetic textures and drum machines, mammoth live-drum breaks, sqeulchy electro breakdowns, kitschy paeans to LSD, prog-style bass lines and more. He even finds time to version a track off one of the Ethiopiques collections from the mid 2000s, letting Gonjasufi ride it in his inimitable croon.

We should’ve known GLK had something like this in him, especially after 2010’s collaboration with Gonjasufi, A Sufi and a Killer. On that long-player, GLK offered a brew of beats, guitars and organs that was more psych than hip-hop, and on Death Gate he pushes his template even further, coming off more like a library music maestro than a hip-hop producer.

How he does it all without it going off the rails or just sounding like a clever mishmash is clear, though. He’s got a taste for brevity and ear for keeping the hooks fresh and the beat wobbly, a little unstable but still swinging. He seems to know the key is to keep things moving forward. If that means hooking up a dub-like echo space with a martial rhythm, so be it.

It would be easy to say that a full length from this LA-based producer would be something to look forward to, but I’m not so sure that’s the case with GLK. As much as his enthusiasms and productions seem to spill over boundaries, the album format might contain him too much, make him think he has to focus or something high-minded like that. No, I think mixtapes, streams, EPs, 7”s, live DJ gigs and all the ephemera of the modern music industry seem a better vehicle for GLK’s crazed, wide-eyed vision. High energy, low concept, more fun.

By Matthew Wuethrich

Other Reviews of The Gaslamp Killer

My Troubled Mind / Hell and the Lake of Fire are Waiting for You! / All Killer Finders Keepers 1-20 Mixed By The Gaslamp Killer


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