The Gasman
Remedial
Planet Mu
2003
D

taking, arguably, the most futuristic sounding genre of Western music (IDM) and mixing it with the stodgiest (classical music) will sound to most like a recipe for a polarizing record. And that’s just what Remedial, the debut release from the Gasman, has done.


Composed primarily from cut-ups of reel to reel recordings of classical music and rhythms constructed on his PC, Remedialintroduces the Todd Edwards/Akufen/Prefuse 73 school of cutting up elements into small constitutive parts and arranging them into dizzying arrays of composed music ready for the dance-floor. Instead of taking on house music or hip-hop, however, the Gasman has not strayed far from the Planet-Mu style of electro inflected acid house. It’s as though Aphex has given us some of the acid back with a classical touch thrown on top for garnishing. And, as with most Planet-Mu releases, this can be seen as either a blessing or a curse.


On one hand, this particular iteration of acid is an original one filled with possibility in the future. On the other, the Gasman has done little with the possibility here but filter it on top of pre-existing beat structures that have been used far too often in previous incarnations.


There are highlights, though. “Ajax” rides a jerky rhythm based on obviously cut-up recording and changes course along the way several times, both surprising the listener enough to keep interest high and allowing them to settle into the new development to attain a level of comfort.


Also, there are four beatless tracks that feature only the orchestral backing that the Gasman pushes to the background in most other cases. These segues are far too short, unfortunately, and seem to have been created as an afterthought to enact a sense of variety among the album that simply does not really exist. “Nasal Zoster Spider” and “The Lord’s Prayer” are the lengthy exceptions to this rule as they expand on the possibility of a powerful orchestral presence in lieu of the familiar acid backing. While “Nasal...” seems to ponderously pound out an atonal grouping of keys that do little to please the ear, “The Lord’s Prayer” is a fascinating sound-scape that leads one to believe that the Gasman may, in fact, be on to something here after all. But after this it’s back to the acid once again with an almost interminable thirteen minutes spread between two tracks that point towards the fascination with the possibility of making this project sound as uninteresting as possible.


Perhaps the concept got in the way here. As Gasman produced three or four tracks from this classical cut-up method it began to occur to him that perhaps an albums worth of material was hidden within the process. Fitting each track into this narrow conception of what the experiment can do, however, was probably the worst thing that could have happened along the way. While there certainly is a strong EPs worth of material here that would satisfy any listener of forward thinking IDM, this one is better left downloaded rather than purchased.


Reviewed by: Todd Burns
Reviewed on: 2003-09-01
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