Gesaffelstein is the alias for French electronic producer Mike Lévy, who most recently caught the attention of hipsters everywhere by collaborating with Daft Punk on two tracks from Kanye West’s polarizing LP, Yeezus. One of these, “Black Skinhead”, was among the best tracks the album had to offer, while the other, “Send It Up, was too experimental for its own good. His tendency to hit-and-miss like that rears its head on his debut album, Aleph, as well.
Gesaffelstein’s off kilter, unsettling sound can work for or against him on Aleph. Hey employs a heavy, almost-industrial sound on tracks like “Hate Or Glory”, “Pursuit” and “Obsession”, each of which would make an early Trent Reznor proud. Yet other times, he overdoes it on experimental tracks like the grueling “Duel” or the overdone G-Funk track “Hellifornia”. Dr. Dre and Ice Cube’s “Natural Born Killers”, it ain’t.
He prospers on some of his more mellow selections, like the pulsating “Nameless” or the sultry “Piece Of Future”, yet tracks like “Wall Of Memories” and “Destination” just kind of melt into the background. Again, its a largely hit and miss record.
Aleph is perhaps the most unique release of the year, but its hard to convey what message Ges is trying to get across with this mostly instrumental album. While still a freshman in his own right, he shows lots of potential here, however it might take a more focused, consistent release to see it fully realized.
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