After ushering in a raft of releases from top talent over the last year that turned quite a few heads, we over here at THEMA thought it was time to assert our own opinions a bit more forcefully. We certainly appreciate all the support we garnered from the Detroit drops courtesy of Norm and Terrence, and sliding over to the Smallville end of the spectrum with Rau and Suburb certainly didnt lose the thread either. Sometimes its easy to build a vibe on the backs of others rather than on simple merit though With that in mind weve taken our own path since then, and the recent successes from Beaner and Laurine Frost stand alone as the accolades keep rolling in. Continuing on our outbound trajectory, we present the solo vinyl debut of Gathaspar, the mysterious Polish producer who has been making noise mostly in Berlin and to the east. For someone with such a developed sound, hes made precious few appearances before and can count only a single track on Freude am Tanzen, a split album with tech-house legends MRI on their own Resopal Schallware, and scattered digital drops up until now. But since exposure and talent are rarely aligned in the fickle techno world, THEMA is proud to present Gathaspars debut vinyl EP in another move sure to challenge both listeners and preconceptions.
From the beginning of the A-side Shes Not from Here, (which was remixed by Monkey Maffia on the digital series) its clear that Gathaspars done his homework as far as deepening and distinguishing his sound. Dark techno and druggy tech-house both come into play here, but the seductively cinematic atmosphere and odd tonalities show hes been doing sonic research in other areas, and the layers of flowing water sounds, chopped, echoed syllables, and off-kilter beats all combine to create a vertiginous effect by the time it breaks down and goes headlong for the final section. Reference points like MRIs classic Force Tracks tech-house and the tripped-out experiments of Jichael Mackson are not out of line, but the thick, tunneling tact of Gathaspar offers its own kind of immersive depth, and this inward dimension is something he further explores on the B-side opener Powstanie. Here, he dispenses with the jumpy rhythms of the A cut for a darkened, four-to-the floor pound. Psychedelic layers of destroyed, echoed detritus unfold slowly over the top of all of this, with the producer making adroit switch-offs between distinct segments before combining all into a whole as the corrosive reverb eats away at everything in sight. Its tough stuff to be sure, and when he ends the EP with the dubby, pastoral MEM, it brings a few vestiges of light back into sight much like the shutters at a certain Berlin location.
If this seems a bit heady for a debut EP, we are proud to serve as the conduit to transmit these breathtaking sounds to our followers, the world, and the inward realms. THEMA and Gathaspar, with courage, look towards the future.
Text by: Albert Freeman