William Bensussen, aka, The Gaslamp Killer, released his debut project, ‘Breakthrough‘ in the summer of 2012. While I wasn’t aware of the producer then until only a year or so ago, I have no regret in finding him. He is one one of the most exciting, diverse, mind-boggling and experimental producers whose ever done a studio album.
‘Breakthrough’ in itself is a heavy album. While primarily being all instrumental, The Gaslamp Killer does enlist vocalist, Gonjasufi for the haunting “Veins” as well as Daedelus and Samiyam to help out on production. What else also stands out about the album is the variety in instrumentals. “Holy Mt Washington” is one of the slower and easier tracks to listen to. With airy synths flying around like fairies, the demonic whistling and washed-up drums, Bensussen and Computer Jay created a song that is as electronic as it is Hip-Hop.
Another one of the songs on the album that stood out was the Mophono collaboration, “Critic”. Supported primarily by the smash of drum symbols and ghostly guitar strings, the two producers came together to create a sporadic Nu-Jazz record. Even the sound effects of the bag of coins shuffling adds an element of psychedelia to the song and album.
The Adrian Younge (LEGEND) collaborated-effort, “Dead Vets” is also another standout. While being one of the more minimal tracks on the album, it sees elements of Rock, Jazz and Electronic influencing different areas of the song. Whether it be the wicked keys, distorted strings, low-pulse of drums or the sad fact that this song is only two-and-a-half minutes long, it’s clear that this album was crafted for a specific audience and expression of sound.
Although I don’t mind the odd skit here or there, the “Fuck” skit on the album is just comical but also adds flavour to the album. It continues to give the psychedelic vibe from the album, for a short period. However, the following track and second collaboration with Gonjasufi on the album. “Apparitions” is another one of the minimalistic tracks on the album, however, Sufi’s vocals add a darker and cloudy atmosphere to the track. The panning of the instrumental between headphones as well just shows that Bensussen was looking to create a raunchy, vigorous instrumental album.
My favourite track on the album though has too be the creepy, trippy, excessive Daedus “Impulse”. While there is no melody, vocals or any sign of the song going any direction, that’s what makes it stand out the most.
From the raspy, distorted drums, the crunching bass, spacey keys or swirling synth, this song is a must-go to on the album. Every time I listen to it, I’m just amazed at the skill of both the producers. [Note : This song makes me wanna drop acid and just play Super Mario Bros all day].
In all, this album is not only a standout out for its non-friendly instrumentals, but also showcases the transparency and ability that The Gaslamp Killer has as a producer. Not only did he take influence from one genre for one song, but explored all the genres that influenced him and shoved them on a highly dense and heavy album that is overwhelmingly rewarding.