Gerd, Friendly Fire

[Royal Oak]

Buy Vinyl

A late addition in Clone Records’ 2009 rebirth as a network of boutique sub-labels, the stately Royal Oak lacked the directions for use and dosage that siblings like Clone Jack For Daze and Clone Loft Supreme offered, and was distinguished initially by its ultra-limited print runs — a policy since reconsidered to include larger secondary runs. Four titles into its catalog, though, this Oak has grown into a essential showcase for regal, deeply-rooted house that, like much of Clone’s output, doesn’t necessarily fit neat narratives of style or history. In hindsight, we should have seen that from the very beginning, what with longtime Clone affiliate Gerd-Jan Bijl helming the A-side of the imprint’s premiere release.

Claiming both sides of the record this time, the veteran producer and 4 Lux Records head reprises a formula that easily won us over last time, capitalizing on an overlay of moods. Vacillating Rhodes chord patterns, jazzy bass maneuvers, skitters of cut-up drums, handclaps and finger snaps comprise “Friendly Fire”‘s earth-toned foundation of low-key grooves. That’s just the backbone, though, above which a light show of neon luminescence dances. Sprightly blips and whirs dart and flit about as though in some un-choreographed cosmic spectacle whose relationship to the more structured deep house below is just happy happenstance. As a listening experience, I’d characterize “Friendly Fire” as “Feet on the ground, finger pointed skyward.” A dub follows, as well as the studio jam “Vibration,” which works the same material into a slower tempo and a more interactive combination of divergent layers. Here the nimble, airborne melodies play less as atmospheric phenomena, eventually cohering as bright, lively melody lines that weave over, under, and around the Rhodes’ more even-tempered hum until that sense of separation is gone, the firm footing is lost, and everything seems to be floating in space.

kuri  on May 25, 2010 at 11:32 PM

this is a great release. Gerd seems to reinvent himself time and time again. “Arkest’s Blaze” anyone?

Blaktony  on May 26, 2010 at 8:44 AM

Deliciously groovy w/a slice of jazz.

Per Bojsen-Moller  on May 26, 2010 at 6:02 PM

“Arkest’s Blaze” was ruling!


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» Little White Earbuds May Charts best house music  on May 31, 2010 at 11:44 AM

[…] [Mellophonia] 08. Kyle Hall, “Create Your Own Existence” [Moods & Grooves] 09. Gerd, “Friendly Fire” [Royal Oak] 10. The Oliverwho Factory, “Lady Dreamer” [Planet […]

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