23 March 2006


Warp bookChrist, was it nearly a year ago that I last wrote about The Gasman? Time flies. But here he comes again, with his latest album "This One's For You", released on Planet Mu this month. From the opening moments of "Freezer", with its cool rush of effervescent melodic beauty, I could tell it was gonna be an extremely pleasant trip, as the frothy synths surged on their ecstatic journey to find the Lost Chord, riding Valkyrie-like on an elegantly rinsed rhythm track straight from the classic AFX mould. And that's what this whole album is like, really: Classic(al) electronica. Although there's plenty of modernist touches, The Gasman seems lost in a perpetual 1995-97 album-orientated, middle class, bohemian hardcore continuum, and I have absolutely no problem with that whatsoever. I've been there, man. I lived that life. That was me. I even suspect that I am, in fact, The Gasman. I must sleepwalk to my laptop in the dead of night and compose all the tracks in my underpants, letting the residual emotions of my previous life seep from my subconscious, flow through my fingers and straight into the sequencer. Then, still in a tranced-out, non-waking state, I must wander down to the post box in my bare feet and send the master tapes to Mike Paradinas. That might explain why I feel so tired in the mornings, anyway.

That's not true, of course. The Gasman is, in fact, Mike Paradinas under an assumed name - an outlet for his most unashamedly whimsical flights of fancy.

That's not true either. I just made it up. Nice theory though...

Besides, I'm being a bit unkind here. There is something distinct about the Gasman's sound, though it's difficult to quantify. If you played me "Fiv" blindfold I reckon I could tell straight away it was a Gasman tune. Something about that particular piano sound he favours, or the flow of his sequences, all cascading droplets of loveliness with the high notes bobbing up at you like excited children in a playground. Or the slightly over-done lashings of reverb that give tracks like "IRF" that frosty, fairytale atmosphere. The Gasman's world is a little garden of unearthly delights, unaligned to any particular region of the current dance music landscape, but with little echoes of past achievements that imbue a rosy, nostalgic glow over the proceedings. This album is like an audio comfort blanket, great for snuggling-up in when all that heavy 'serious' music gets a bit too much to handle.

But does anyone else give a fuck about the Gasman? I notice there were only three comments attached to my previous post on him - and they were all spam! Somebody please tell me they understand this music too! Or point me in the direction of the appropriate forum thread...

(or hard copy at Warpmart)

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