Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Data Breaker: Gel-Sol Approaches Orblivion
Many thanks to Dave Segal from The Stranger for writing this article!
Gel-Sol (Seattle producer Andrew Reichel) is this town's reigning Orb fanatic. Dr. Alex Paterson's long-running ambient-dub-house collective has spawned several disciples worldwide, but Gel-Sol can stake a claim to being one of the finest in the tradition, balancing serious musical chops (he's a staunch prog-rock fan) with witty spoken-word samples over four albums.
My introduction to Gel-Sol came with Music Made for You... and by You I Mean Me (recorded in 2003, but reissued by the esteemed and now-defunct UK label em:t in 2004). The disc lays out a luxurious banquet of rich synth swirls, languorous bass lines, and slackly funky beats. This is music for long-attention-span owners and those fond of subtly unhinging the doors of perception. It's deep and plush, poised between the chill-out room and the opium den—except for "Numby Numbs," which is an uncharacteristically revved-up cut animated by jagged rhythms and sprightly yet stabbing keyboard riffs. But Music Made for You is mostly geared for lounging in style, stratospherically. Ladies and gentlemen, we are floating (and giggling) in space.
As for Gel-Sol's dub credentials, they could receive a boost depending on the outcome of his entry into Choice Cuts' Horace Andy remix contest; Gel-Sol interestingly reworked "Watch We" from Andy and Ashley Beedle's Inspiration Information album. (The winner will be announced on the Choice Cuts website.)
Recent live gigs at the Church of Bass and Re-bar have found Gel-Sol delving into ambience that's aswirl in glittery vapor and redolent of beneficent herbal vibes at the former, while the latter finds him creating a churning, dubadelic soundscape. Both sets represent some of the region's most supremely heady head music.
On Gel-Sol's "Skub," a 2009 single on the local Innerflight label, however, his production shows a more up-tempo tendency, though it still doesn't move at techno/house's brisk clip. Rather, it's a chunkily percussive, dubwise funk track with a mutedly beautiful melody and chilly synth tones forming a halo around the rhythmic bustle. This looks like an interesting new direction for Reichel.
As for his current endeavors, Reichel says, "Most of my recent live material is music for a future release, a double-length concept album called Terramecha, that's about a planet inhabited by robots. I'm also working on a follow-up to [2008's] IZ (written for my niece), because I got another niece on the way."
On top of all of this, Reichel is nearing completion of Gel-Sol's Adventures Beyond the Plunderworld, which parodies the Orb's debut album in the form of a collage of movie/TV/radio dialog snippets that touch on scatological, sexual, pharmaceutical, and musical matters. You'll eventually be able to hear it online for free. Speaking of which, you can hear some of Gel-Sol's music at www.myspace.com/gelsol and www.soundcloud.com/gel-sol. It's all very absORBing.