September 8th, 2012 | Album reviews

Dominique Purdy

Gaslamp Killer
Ninja Tune

It’s about time! In the six or seven years since Gaslamp’s been headlining Low End Theory shows and blowing minds at festivals, his only full-lengths so far have been mixes of 60s rarities and the like, often rivaling Peanut Butter Wolf and DJ Nobody in taste level and bin-bonanza braggadocio but, you know, not creating much new music. What we did get in his few original EPs and collaborations certainly lived up to the madman persona he’s cultivated for himself: less intricate than some of his peers but with an amazing ear for blending disparate elements into a big bloody bassy power pitch. Breakthrough goes far further than these: he’s still stabbing our ears with that same blunt thought process, but now he’s twisting the tunes as they slide in. And everybody wants a piece of him–Computer Jay, Daedelus, SAMIYAM, Dimlite, Gonjasufi, and half a dozen others all make cameos—but aside from a few monome-munchin’ beats here and there, and some great guest vocals, this thing is still Gaslamp throughout, full of nods to international psychedelia and live-sounding drum beats and synths so harsh, they could almost be guitars. The bass, too, is often hard, long, and guttural, as if a challenge to dubstep’s current supremacy. But what I love most is how evil things get, like in the Mophono track, “Critic,” with its Asian strings and synths like sinister water droplets. Is this song a musical curse upon professional critics? If so, I may need to sleep with a gun under my pillow tonight.

-D. M. Collins