In today’s world of ever-changing sounds and “gear-head” technical jargon, there are a choice few artists who really push the boundaries of current sound technologies and make it big in the experimental genre. These musicians are constant creators of an unformulated sound; molders of an art with no foundation. They must constantly explore their own musical ability and experiment with the tools that are available to them. Today, I would like to talk about one such explorer who goes by the name of The Gaslamp Killer. Growing up in the Gaslamp District of San Diego, he developed a cult following as a DJ who was influenced by Too Short, Dr. Dre, and Jimi Hendrix. His biggest rise to fame came when he helped establish one of the most important centers for EDM in Los Angeles–Low End Theory.
Gaslamp’s new EP Death Gate was recently released on Flying Lotus’s label, Brainfeeder. Although short in length, Death Gate is as enjoyable as it is unique. The opening track, Fun Over 100, starts things off with some 8-bit infused, Arabic-sounding synth progressions. Soon thereafter, the synth is accompanied by some moody, lingering melodies. It’s a short track, but it serves as a good intro to prepare the listener for the dark, alternative sound of the rest of the EP.
Flash forward to track four, Shattering Inner Journeys. This track is the essence of electronic jamming. Artificial drum machine progressions, entrancing beats, and gothic synths create a tone of macabre serenity. Things become a bit livelier around the four minute mark–the Transylvanian sound still remains, but the pace is a bit faster now, which keeps things from getting dull. The rest of a track echoes out with dreary vocal samples and trippy sounds reminiscent of Dark Side of the Moon.
All in all, Death Gate is hipster pornography. Take that as you will, but I like it. I know the experimental scene isn’t nearly as big as the other EDM scenes, but I think it’s one of those genres in which you can certainly find some of the most original, inspired artists. That being said, this EP isn’t for everyone. However, lovers of alternative EDM will have a field day with it. If you live near LA, do yourself a favor and look up The Gaslamp Killer; I know he’s one of those artists that are at the top of my “to see” list.