Gesaffelstein
Hyperion


3.0
good

Review

by Kirk Bowman CONTRIBUTOR (57 Reviews)
March 9th, 2019 | 23 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: business as usual

I am 100% for what most people refer to as "selling out." Artists tend to do their most honest and appealing work when they start to diversify their sound, working with mainstream artists they have often wanted to for years (to the detriment of their early fans). I say this to clarify that becoming mainstream has not hurt Gesaffelstein's art, at least not in any way visible from the public eye. He's still a fantastic producer, capable of shutting off the lights and inviting in the ghosts in any environment. Hyperion shows that talent off. From the very first few notes, it's obvious that he's been working on his skills, heightening his songwriting and production abilities. This is a much more interesting release than his debut Aleph, with more genre-hopping and collaborations than ever before, mostly for the better. His grasp on darkness is still his defining sound, with more curiosities along the way to keep listeners entertained. These tracks feel fuller than ever before, the kind of rich-major-label-star sound quality only possible because this is dropping on Columbia. It's reminiscent of the transformation Daft Punk have taken over the course of their career - lo-fi beginnings in dark techno-inspired dance music, taking advantage of their connections to find a new path in a more pop direction, working with celebrities and using new skills honed from creating soundtracks.

Unfortunately, the other thing that Hyperion has in common with Random Access Memories is that it shows how the creator lost his edge, in more ways than one. First off, he's clearly stuck in the past. Most of these collaborations, however unexpected and appealing they are, sound (on paper and wax) like they came straight out of 2013. It's hard for me to complain about that - 2013 was probably my favorite year in music, period, and artists like Haim, The Hacker and Electric Youth still seem cool - but as recent as it may seem, the distance between now and then is enormous. In the six years since Aleph, trap has come (and at this point practically gone), rock and EDM both died, and streaming took over the music market. Mike Levy is 31 years old now, so it makes sense that he would no longer sound like the future, but this is an inevitable disappointment for anyone who got into his work through Yeezus. At that point, and still, he sounded like the future, but now he sounds current at best. Second, for better or worse, this is simply softer than all his previous studio work. There is no "Pursuit," "Trans," or "Hellifornia" here, which is frustrating. But there is "Humanity Gone," a 10-minute journey and the most emotionally dynamic track he's ever released, "Reset," a gloomy and bass-filled duet between hip-hop and ambient, and "So Bad," a charged-up dream drenched in smoke.

Surprisingly, these all somehow fit together under this album's umbrella, alongside what are basically Pharrell and Weeknd songs with a vaguely spooky sheen on top. It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely more structured and meaningful than the compilation-esque mishmash of Aleph, which has more musical similarities but still felt less connected, a clear sign that he is improving on that front. It’s still lacking, though. Nothing about the flow is irritating or out of place, but it just kind of exists, ending really dramatically for no apparent reason. Most of these songs sound more like buildups to bigger, grander pieces, and just kind of fade off. As cliché as it sounds, these might even be better with a few more drops, or at least some more personal lyrics about something other than Abel’s disrespect of bisexuality or whatever generic romanticism “Forever” is about. There are plenty of talented songwriters who have the knack for making raw material like this exciting and deep instead of neat and cool, and Gesaffelstein still hasn’t proven that he’s there. So maybe he should work with them, sell out a little more, and see what happens.



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user ratings (27)
Chart.
2.2
poor


Comments:Add a Comment 
granitenotebook
Contributing Reviewer
March 9th 2019


858 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

streaming everywhere

critique welcome

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
March 9th 2019


2797 Comments


Oh man, interesting angle, and super well-written. I'll listen to this.

Digging: Angel Du$t - Pretty Buff

klap
Staff Reviewer
March 9th 2019


12048 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

great review, this was extremely disappointing for me, but whatever he's a live artist through and through

cjgone
March 9th 2019


823 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Wow, this is boring.

Tchitcherine
March 9th 2019


183 Comments


I tried it yesterday and was disappointed.. Expected something more rough and was not in the mood for this.. Maybe it gets another try

OmairSh
March 9th 2019


14812 Comments


I wanna fuck you slow with the lights on

Lights on

Lights on

Digging: Dream Theater - Distance Over Time

OmairSh
March 9th 2019


14812 Comments


Must have taken a while to design that album cover

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
March 9th 2019


8849 Comments


Nicely written. Not sure I agree with the point established at the beginning and it seems to be somewhat contradicted later. But you keep things concise and connected well

Digging: Ni - Pantophobie

Slex
March 9th 2019


6109 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Album is ass

Digging: Shin Guard - 2020

Bloon
Contributing Reviewer
March 9th 2019


2558 Comments


Very good review

Digging: Woody Guthrie - My Dusty Roads

Lord(e)Po)))ts
March 9th 2019


41575 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

"I am 100% for what most people refer to as "selling out." Artists tend to do their most honest and appealing work when they start to diversify their sound,"



.... the fuck



Digging: Edyth - Bare II

hal1ax
March 9th 2019


13282 Comments


yea... i don't understand that line of thinking either..

Lord(e)Po)))ts
March 9th 2019


41575 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

"selling out" and "diversifying" are so not intrinsically adjacent

Lord(e)Po)))ts
March 9th 2019


41575 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

also i can't think of one time in the history of anyone ever that the process of "selling out" incited more honest work

Lord(e)Po)))ts
March 9th 2019


41575 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

thats virtually oxymoronic

hal1ax
March 9th 2019


13282 Comments


i don't get how selling out could help diversify your sound... wouldn't diversify imply that your sound was being expanded upon? tailoring your sound to the wants of a majority swath of the general populace isn't diversification it's just conformity. if anything it's restricting not diversifying.

hal1ax
March 9th 2019


13282 Comments


lol ya while typing that you said it

zakalwe
March 10th 2019


26668 Comments


‘I am 100% for what most people refer to as "selling out."’


This is the worst thing that has ever been written on this site. Fucking unbelievable.

Digging: OLD - Formula

Relinquished
March 10th 2019


39314 Comments


lol

Lord(e)Po)))ts
March 10th 2019


41575 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

anyways, Pharrell ruins Blast Off, which is unfortunate because the instrumental is great



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