A Guy Called Gerald
Tronic Jazz The Berlin Sessions

By Kone-R

 
Ever since seeing Gerald perform a live set a year or so ago I've been waiting to hear what he'd do next on record. He's never one to shy away from a tangent, but his dalliances with the likes of drum & bass down the years have left me sorely disappointed. I was desperate to hear the kind of smooth and soulful techno that he played from his pair of laptops that night in west London — and here it is.
 
It's all first rate, the sort of standard you'd expect from a producer of Gerald's standing but never quite dared to hope for. Right from the off, the beats are rolling and funky; every track would do damage on the more discerning dancefloor — one populated with the type of punter who can appreciate the space and atmosphere that exists in all of these works (just check out Indi Vibe for an example). As a home listener it is also varied enough to sit through from end-to-end. The sound palette is extremely clean and the production never cluttered; the arrangements move from subtle menace (Flutter) to melancholic (Just Soul) to uplifting (Pacific Samba, in which Gerald does a first class job of bringing an 808 State classic bang up to date). The album closer Merfed takes a vintage pad reminiscent of the old Blake's 7 theme tune and a very cute melodic flourish, laying both over a tough but wide swingbeat.
 
Definitely the best techno album I've heard so far this year, and let's not forget that in spite of the title and the artists' current place of residence, this Guy is UK born and bred. Let's have some other countrymen stepping up to the plate in 2010.
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