Gesaffelstein is French techno producer Mike Lévy. Reportedly crafting this moniker as a portmanteau of the German word “Gesamtkunstwerk” (which has like 10 definitions, one of which is “synthesis of the arts”) with the suffix of “Einstein” (not sure where “ffel” is coming from, let’s say… “Eiffel” since he’s French and all). Anyways, this dude is the most heavy-hitting, in-your-face, relentless and devastating electro artist I’ve heard in many moons. Being an unreasonably dashing, well-dressed chap, it was initially difficult for me to put face to name, as I spent the better part of my evening picking up the pieces of my broken eardrums, recovering after our first encounter. Picture a semi-automatic machine gun made of diamonds and crystal lattice, a tight-knit brood of grey-eyed wolves staring at you from the cold and the dark; imagine yourself falling, reeling and flailing, looking up at a receding black silhouetted figure watching your descent from the top of an endless high-rise… that’s Gesaffelstein. However, as you lick your wounds and delve into Lévy’s works, you realize there is one theme that permeates all his versatile sound: class.
After hearing his works, Kanye West invited Lévy to collaborate on what became “Black Skinhead” – the best song on “Yeezus” – and “Send It Up” (also appearing in Gesaffelstein’s work as the track “Hellifornia”). From the stalking I’ve done online, Gesaffelstein also boasts an amazing live show. More than any producer I’ve seen, he spends noticeable time staring intent and wide-eyed into the audience, particularly during the most intense beat drops, in a sort of maddened agreement and approval of the collective surge and pulse of the crowd’s energy. He smokes like a chimney, or the smoking barrel of a shotgun perhaps, concurrently dropping ashes, beads of sweat and blasting, hammering tempo.
Since his 2008 origins, Gesaffelstein has released a handful of EPs, the “Conspiracy” series and his contribution to the Brodinski split “Bromance 1” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FB58S5ywPm8) being standouts, as well as one the best records of 2013 in his punishing debut LP “Aleph”. With a tasteful cocktail of spine-crushing techno and quieter IDM haunts, Gesaffelstein shows incredible promise and talent beyond his years.
Favourite track: Pursuit (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJ5JpHH1ovI)… Run for your life.