Gesaffelstein & The Hacker: Zone 4: Crainte / Errance (Zone)
Gesaffelstein: Conspiracy Pt. 1 (Turbo)
This EP is a collaboration between Grenoble’s techno master the Hacker and his more recent Parisian protegé Gesaffelstein, né Mike Levy. That the two have collaborated should come as no surprise since one appears to be heavily influenced by the other. The tracks herein are fat and sexy, especially “Errance” which writhes around in a detuned formation for its duration. It’s a slower tempo dance track but so damn seductive, characterized by a lead pattern that can’t quite pick a key. It’s backed up against “Crainte” which is much more no-nonsense in approach, precise and clean and straightforward in all the right ways. It combines the two artists’ styles in perhaps the most appropriate way, adding a bit of extra kick to the Hacker’s clean arrangements with Gesaffelstein’s dirtier synth sounds. A remix by Clement Meyer is nice enough for utility but by no means improves upon the original. The EP is a handsome collaboration that was perhaps inevitable, but welcomed nonetheless. I’d like to hear more from the duo, as it seems like they complement each other well.
Gesaffelstein’s solo EP is also handsome, with the lead cut “Hatred” channeling some of the aggressive of the EBM set (post-Nitzer Ebb) and even tinges of aggrotech like Combichrist in an oblique sort of way. But I’m more game for a track like “Aufstand” which picks up right where the Hacker collaborations left off, quite crisp and succinct until an epic dropout where he lets his synths detune and bend around one another. But his sound continues to shift shapes with “The Lack of Hope,” a track that channels Detroit techno more than 80s EBM, with a wonderfully deep low-end bassline and radiant chords that would make some of the Dial roster (Pawel, Lawrence) swoon. The title negates the optimism that the track lends, but it’s a paradox that works to tie all three of these cuts together, making alternately aggressive and seductive moments sides of the same complex form instead of disparate themes.