I was going to be quite unpleasant about this album but I just found out that Offshore is on Big Dada, so I’m not as offended by this as I was. The Gaslamp Killer has a good reputation as a DJ so it was inevitable that he’d eventually put an album out. Hands up who can name any DJ’s that have made genuinely great albums that have stood the test of time ? So if you named DJ Shadow and the bloke from The Avalanches you’re right but it’s pretty tricky thing to do because for the most part DJ’s who make albums do so pretty badly. Different skill sets you see.
As far as I know, Gaslamp Killer is one of the hundreds of musicians who seem to have been given carte blanche to do anything because they once met Flying Lotus, most of whom release amorphous indistinguishable electronica to a slavishly FlyLo blueprint that seems to be received unilaterally well by every single reviewer on the planet. Well not me. I like some Flying Lotus but I don’t listen to him much and I haven’t found any of his disciples (to date) that have even a sliver of his ability. And as for the thousands of people who produce identikit FlyLo tunes in the desperate hope that the rest of the world won’t notice…we noticed.
Anyway, this is all opinionated ranting and doesn’t have a blind thing to do with the music. In short “Breakthrough” can be described as a bunch of sketches. Looping samples and putting beats over them is a pretty standard way to make an album and has been since 1985 or thereabouts. Getting a guest appearance on every track is supposed to make you think “ooh he has such influence that all these cool people want to appear with him” but that isn’t why it’s happening in mainstream hip-hop. It’s happening to attract as many people as possible to unremarkable tunes and I cant help wondering what all these people contributed to this album. Gonjasufi works his usual magic but as much as I love his voice, smoking a billion fags and then talking over obscure Ethio-Jazz records may be a good wheeze but its not going to last forever. Daedalus’s EP managed to pass through my ears at least four times when I reviewed it and it didn’t leave a single trace of anything memorable.
Dragged beats, grainy synths and kitschy, retro samples may well present the facsimile of a great album but really what this is is a fashionable album. If it had some interesting or innovative musical ideas it would be a great album but then of course you have to stick your neck out and take a few risks which risks alienating the army of hipster clones who currently represent the electronic music audience. File under “Been there, heard that”.