Review Summary: It sucks to be called Gas.
It's always unfortunate when a musician has their identity ripped off by another band, usually unintentionally. "The Who" and "The Guess Who", the Japanese "Mono" and the trip-hop "Mono". People wouldn't be so succept to mix them up if they did their homework, but for lots of listeners these days ignorance seems to insurmountable at first. It's understandable, and not terribly insulting, but it's a shame that one of the bands inevitably overshadows the other.
Where am I going with this? Surely Mat Jarvis's Gas 0095
deserves its moment in the limelight, but therein lies the problem. Very few will have heard 0095
before, and not entirely due to its relative obscurity, as is most often the case with many other great artists. Rather, Jarvis's project moniker Gas
is shared out of coincidence with the project Gas
of Wolfgang Voigt, who is comparatively more well-known. Also, as a result of Jarvis's teensy discography - this album is the only installment - more often than not Jarvis is only distinguished from Voigt by the fact his album is extremely
collectible. Is this because of a limited number of pressings? Or is it simply a landmark for the genre? I'm not positively sure about the former, but the latter is most certainly true. History aside, onto 0095
After being treated to some very interesting marine wildlife cover artwork, the listener will be predisposed to picture a dark, abyssal ocean bottom. Jarvis dredges up the ethereal soundscapes of the deep, but this ocean bottom is the ocean bottom of another world. The specific electronica classification of 0095
establishes itself rather quickly as ambient, with some very unique components that often times lend themselves to Trance. However, the ambience is not as free-floating - a term I like to use to describe ambient electronica in general - as the jellyfish implies. The opening track, "Generator", a mere 36 seconds long, sets the atmosphere, with diffused, rumbling pulses growing progressively louder as you delve into the blackness. However, the mood is suddenly upset by the jarring and sinister synthesized POWS
of "Experiments on Live Electricity", echoing through the shattered calm. It is at this point that the album begins its pleasantly variable style, with soft yet strangely alien lullabies such as "Vapourware" transitioning into the slightly harsher repetitious grates of others such as "Selenium" - another piece barely clearing the 30 second mark.
In fact, almost fifty percent of the tracks are incredibly short, the smallest being the aptly named "Miniscule", at just 2 seconds long. Obviously, there's not much to glean from something so laughably brief, but the novelty of it is kind of intriguing. That said, the other tracks more than make up for this lack of anything, such as the author's personal second-favorite and beat-driven "Earthshake". Disregarding some decidedly irritating vocals, this is the runner up for star of the album. Speaking of which, the vocal soundbites become a tad annoying overall, but are used conservatively and not too blatantly at that. They do add to 0095's finely tuned, if not original, sound, and they grow on the listener over time. By far the most impressive track on 0095
is the wonderfully balanced "Mathematics and Electronics". The pace and liberal experimentation with grating synths is indescribable, but rest assured, it's great. The last tracks of substantial length are okay, with "Discovery" being an enjoyable "true" ending, as "Generator 74" - yep, you guessed it - is only a minute long.
Our electrified submarine journey coming to a close, there is much to be said upon resurface. While Jarvis creates his music using a thoroughly establised style, the production value is phenomenal, with sound quality, and more importantly, melody
quality being very impressive and memorable. Minor annoyances like the occasional useless vocal samples are all Jarvis can really be faulted for, as well as the tiny blip-like compositions that litter 0095
. The longer ones more than assist the listener in forgiving these two problems. It's a classic I'd recommend to anyone into electronica. If you end up liking Mat Jarvis, savor it, 'cos it's the only one you'll get out of him.