Review: Personable – Spontaneous Generation

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(Vinyl LP, Peak Oil, 2012)

Los Angeles synthesist M. Geddes Gengras (the mysterious M. of his name still being an unsolved mystery of the psychedelic underground) is a man of many trades; when not exploring Berlin school and early electronic aesthetics under his real name (he just released a fresh LP on Holy Mountain, entitled Test Leads), creating blissed out psychedelic folk as 1/2 of the Antique Brothers or jamming together with Cameron Stallones a.k.a. Sun Araw and the righteous Rasta brothers from The Congos in the heart of Jamaica he is also dabbling in the world of rigorous, modular techno with his Personable project.

The harsh, blown-out beginning of the opening “Billions Of Christic Atoms” abruptly gives way to a highly disciplined minimal techno squeezed between endless successions of a sequenced theme treated with a slight reverb and delay job to enhance the experience. The techno beat in this one is almost unnoticeable at first, but soon carves its way through the eternally kosmische-gazing stylings of Gengras, transforming the space-age bachelor pad equipped with state-of-the-art hi-fi system into the austere club dance floor, offering hypnotic cuts into the beat-based based world straight from the future. Or maybe it’s just loungey prog electronic music masquerading as a set of three drawn-out dancefloor bangers? Later on into the track, the somewhat danceable structure gets transformed into more of a highly detailed, high-speed and constantly looping “furniture music” without ever really changing, creating an image of just standing in a club and nodding the head a little.

Don’t worry though, because “Series of Energies” is sure to kick you out of the stupor – this one doesn’t have the previous track’s predicament (maybe because it’s way shorter) and stays a straight-up acidic techno piece all the way through, bouncing and echoing as it progresses, without ever losing the dancey vibe, even despite its raw, minimal nature (the only semblance of melody here is a radically chopped, glitchy sequencer – which strangery works). If Ged Gengras leaves the long track format (by this I mean 20 minutes and more) to synth improvisations and ambient pieces and focuses on shorter tracks when it comes to techno music, then we might have something goooood coming up. “Spontaneous Generation” is an album with potential – the one Gengras failed to fully harness, but at least we’re sure everything to make a great analog techno music is there.

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