Contemporary discourse around on-the-fringe club musics is often lacking in the framework it utilizes, prone to either view them as being totally non-functional or, on the other hand, beyond the functional. Older, jaded writers often view collage or non-linear styles as being outside of the bounds of the dancefloor while newer critics will hone in on perceived avant-garde elements, both ignoring the music’s potential to create new dance forms. The goal of so much of new club music after all, whether it be ballroom, flex dance music, footwork or so-called deconstructed arrangements, is to create ulterior approaches to movement, often driven by a fundamental lack or exclusion from traditional scenes. Berlin’s GIL has a keen understanding of this dynamic, an artist trained in modern dance who has imbued a tactile quality in all of his output, most of which defies categorization.
We initially heard GIL’s work via STAYCORE’s 2015 bootleg compilation and a series of edits and originals exploring divergent veins of club music followed. A trance-y version of Umm Kulthum’s “Inta Omri” (sadly no longer online) stood out in particular, while a Rihanna flip explored cerebral dembow production and others smashed ballroom, baile funk and hardstyle into single compositions. 2016’s Hibernation Fruits introduced a more focused GIL sound, impactful and narrative-oriented, but also distinctly in the zeitgeist. It was Orchids & Wasps, released later that year on Danse Noire, where the GIL sound truly flourished, escaping the bounds of previous reference points entirely.
Conceived after the Danse Noire crew saw a GIL perform at Lausanne’s Les Urbaines festival, Orchids & Wasps is almost overflowing with ideas, ideas that are often introduced in a compartmentalized section of one track only to be come up in a completely different context later in the track order. Screams, a choir and a range of atmospheric sounds back relentless, often overlapping percussion, giving the impression that each individual section could be perceived as film score or club tool depending on the listener’s vantage. Remixes for Eaves and Meuko! Meuko!, as well as a contribution to Country Music’s 8 minute, 200 BPM release catalogue, have clearly furthered GIL’s desire to work on non-linear timelines that are still clearly rested in soundsystem culture, retaining their tactile and sensual qualities no matter how far they diverge from traditional layouts.
GIL’s mix work functions as an extension of the extrapolating compositions talked about above, often creating matrices of touch that draw lines between everything from the resonant bass hits in a Kranium track to the electro-acoustic noise in Mica Levi’s Jackie OST or Ipek Gorun’s Ecce Homo. Artists exploring adjacent tactile realms like Kelly Moran, Lanark Artefax and Tzusing pop up, as do more distant reference points like dBridge, Dead Can Dance and Taeko Ohnuki. GIL’s productions and edits appear throughout, providing narrative sign posts for the listener to follow and offering a hint of what’s to come in the GIL universe. Hit the jump for a full track list and download a copy of GIL’s Astral Plane Mix here.