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The Gaslamp Killer - My Troubled Mind / Hell and the Lake of Fire are Waiting for You! / All Killer Finders Keepers 1-20 Mixed By The Gaslamp Killer

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Artist: The Gaslamp Killer

Album: My Troubled Mind / Hell and the Lake of Fire are Waiting for You! / All Killer Finders Keepers 1-20 Mixed By The Gaslamp Killer

Label: Brainfeeder

Review date: Dec. 7, 2009

The Gaslamp Killer takes his surname from the section of San Diego that most resembles an outdoor mall. That city’s best export since Kid606 has since moved up Interstate 5, scored a Low End Theory residency and, along with a cadre of cohorts like Flying Lotus and Dâm-Funk, bumped hip hop into another dimension. Originally zoning in on underground rap, his early mixes were like a single-handed attempt to resurrect the spirit of Gravediggaz. Subsequent pastiches broadened his scope, with two self-released volumes of It’s A Rocky Road picking at everything from Ultimate Spinach to "Anasazi Noodle." Other joints for boutique labels like Obey are cavernous affairs, collecting stray bullets from decades of unpopular music.

He’s been much less prolific with his own forays into sound. His stabs at production include "Kobwebs" with Gonja Sufi on an ArtDontSleep collection and the Secret Hangout project for Money Studies. My Troubled Mind is his first EP and the initial artist release on FlyLo’s Brainfeeder label. It plays almost like a condensed edit of his mixes. He’s still sculpting mood, generally fucking with your perception, and flexing a meditative fluidity in tempo and texture shifts. Rhythms wake slowly and take a hit of PCP. Instrumentation feels like it’s dissolving in headphones. Uncalibrated panning enhances a struggle between expansion and claustrophobia as unhinged voices add to the disorientation: “I am falling into the quicksand of my troubled mind.” The final amalgams are like the EM and Tiliqua labels mating. Or a stack of choice records left in the Mojave, melting into each other. At its height, this could score a Dušan Makavejev scene, emitting what Alan Watts might have called a "spontaneous musical happening."

Hell and the Lake of Fire are Waiting for You! is more of the same, rivaling Purple Brain and Be Our Valentine as the most impressive mixes I’ve heard this year. There’s no track list, but trying to figure out what’s going on is half the draw. The selections range from no brainers like Can’s “Halleluwah” to a remix of Tay Zonday’s “Chocolate Rain.” Split into five parts, an early peak is the inclusion of “Survivor” by Klaus Weiss Rhythm & Sounds. Part 2 kicks out with Black Mountain’s "Don’t Run Our Hearts Around" before sliding into a Dungen blend.

GLK’s talent is in making this seem like it should all fit together. Sweetwater’s "My Crystal Spider" resides in the same hemisphere as Cocoa Brovas’ “Sound Bwoy Bureill.” He lifts a funk break from Egon’s Curse of the Evil Badger. Backs up Rusko with Rustie. And puts some shine on his Brainfeeder crew by blending Mr. Dibiase’s galactic piss take "May The Force" into Bullion’s “Are You The One.” He seeks thrills in overlooked places. How about “Monosylabik” from Shadow’s slept-on The Private Press. Or the Tortoise percussionists’ breakbeat excursion Bumps bumping up against Organized Konfusion’s "Releasing Hypnotical Gases." Then chasing that with Chicago’s “Introduction.” And when aren’t Marc Moulin’s early sessions a good choice?

If you needed further evidence of GLK’s exalted stature, Andy Votel handpicked the guy to mix the Finders Keepers catalog in celebration of its 20th release. Split into 12 rearranged suites, All Killer finds him once again interpreting choice material with sharpened ears. To be fair, it would be hard to go wrong given the source material, but GLK does a good job of pinpointing the optimal songs and reconducting their intended thrust. Susan Christie’s monologue from John Hill’s mind-bending Six Moons of Jupiter sets the stage with the words doubling as an intro into his whole ominous oeuvre: “I am the storm at dawn / The swirl of ten thousand upon ten thousand times / Clear in the black calm / In emptiness lingering / Waiting.” It just gets better from there. Stanley Myers’ Sitting Target theme brushes up against Omega’s low-slung “Kergeskezu Favagok.” The Vampires of Dartmoore sink into Sarolta Zalatnay. Ersen’s unstoppable “Gunese Dom Cicegim” gets some run, and there’s no shortage of Vannier and Mustafa Özkent. Supposedly, Votel didn’t even have to ship the records; dude had them all already.

By Jake O'Connell

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