Editors' pick

Gesaffelstein

Dance/Electronic
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Editorial Review

GESAFFELSTEIN
Album review: "Rise of Depravity"
By Megan Buerger
Friday, August 31, 2012

If you’ve never heard of Gesaffelstein, consider this a warning: He’s a far cry from David Guetta. Hailing from Paris, Gesaffelstein produces menacingly heavy tech house that’s entirely free of pop influence, catering more to a dark, underground dance hall than to an arena of kids in neon tank tops.

Gesaffelstein has recently emerged as electronic dance music’s next big thing. The mystery man rarely gives interviews, performs in front of an artfully minimalist set and uses black-and-white photographs of sculpture as album art. His new EP, “Rise of Depravity,” has but two eerie tracks, “Belgium” and “Depravity,” each beginning with spooky, high-pitched synths shrieking like horns in the distance as the bass swells beneath them. “Belgium” is a tribute to electronic body music, which is a combination of industrial house and dance music that emerged in Belgium in the early 1980s.

But silence is really Gesaffelstein’s specialty. Three minutes into “Depravity,” the volume drops for a few seconds of dead air. It’s dramatic and suspenseful, like the moment in a car chase when the driver jumps the bridge. Little by little, sirens rise against low, throbbing synthesizers. The tension grows until the whole thing drops into a raucous explosion of bass and percussion. It’s exactly the kind of build-up EDM fans crave, kicked into high gear.