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If anyone tries to tell you DJs are lacking in personality or pazazz, point them the way of William ‘Gaslamp Killer’ Benussen, the furry freak brother No.1 of the Californian psychedelic hip hop movement led by Flying Lotus.
On stage his imposing white-man Afro thrashes as he abuses an iPad like Hendrix with a Strat, mixing bro-step lunacy into prog rock and Turkish funk and yelling cryptic messages – and thankfully his debut album lives up to his DJ sets. ‘Breakthrough’ sounds like DJ Shadow soundtracking the apocalypse, or the score to the trippiest monster movie never made.
Psyche-rock drum solos and fuzz guitars are cut up into rolling rhythms, while vintage analogue synths overdriven to the nth degree rival the toughest dubsteppers for huge-scale soundystem abuse. Even when the beats get intricate and the sample kooky, it remains entirely, hilariously funky, yet shot through with a dark sense of high drama.
There are co-productions with a cast of like-minded souls – Shigeto, Daedelus, Dimlite and Samiyam to name a few – and mystically moaned guest vocals from frequent collaborator Gonjasufi, but none of these contributions disrupt the flow or personality of the record which for all its varied elements is all too clearly the expression of the demented but coherent vision of one man. You will find no better way to fry your mind this year.