srael, huh? The most contentious country on Wikipedia is rapidly becoming a new hotspot for talented producers in techno. Considering the effects of the internet, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Amateur DJs and musicians have a greater chance than ever at downloading programs and releases that keep them up-to-date with the goings on of every microscene out there. What’s next? Heavy Metal in Baghdad?
Guy Gerber is, as you might have guessed, from Israel. And, as you might have further divined, his music doesn’t sound all that much different from any talented melody-obsessed minimal producer working today. He can do minimal house (“Seagull”), space disco (“Unfulfilled”), acid-tinged (“Are U Naked?”), Knife-style techno (“The State of Change”), and downtempo (“Persona Non Grata”) all without discernible effort. What makes him different is that nearly all of it sounds pretty damn good.
This realization first began to dawn on me during a recent listen to “Persona Non Grata.” Unlike much of the material here, it’s BPM range somewhere around 90-100. Its creepy vocal—a distended and pitched-up Gerber perhaps?—works well in concert with the smooth, calm beat, creating a tension that immediately vaults the track from pleasant to essential. (The tinkling melody and steel drums don’t hurt either.)
Gerber’s talent is reconfirmed on both the opening and closing tracks, which take similar cyclical synth patterns and spin them around until they catch a beat and hang on. As points of entry and exit, they do their job perfectly—gently gliding the listener into and out of the album. Propping up the middle of the album, on the other hand, are the club bangers “Belly Dancing” and “Sea of Sand.” They’ve both already been released on singles, but their inclusion is welcome, anchoring Late Bloomers to its slippery “minimal” tag.
The only complaint, in fact, is a reason to love it as well. Late Bloomers showcases Gerber’s excellent handle on a variety of dance styles. Unfortunately, aside from the aforementioned “Persona Non Grata” nothing here sounds all that different from any number of fellow colleagues. Sure, Late Bloomers is bright, shiny, and brilliant. But there’s going to be a point where listeners begin to ask themselves whether we need another accomplished approximation. We’ll leave that question for next time around.
Reviewed by: Nina Phillips
Reviewed on: 2007-08-03