A few months ago I was sent a tape to write for a potential review. It took me a while to get around to scribbling a few words down, and in the meanwhile, GAP came over to Europe from his native USA (though he is truly a man of multiple continents and cultures; hence, it's hard to put a finger on who he actually is, with his frizzy hair covering his face in the dark when playing live) for a short European tour. After having the opportunity to book him for a live set at local association Desterro in Lisbon, Portugal, GAP finally handed me a physical copy of his latest release, Games Of The Future.
A complex whirlwind of a release, GAP's music seems to both jack and float in equal measure. There is a dreamy vibe to his music, and one that does not convey any kind of macho-tuffness or overt dramatism; nevertheless, tracks like 'Toboggan' and 'Day Webs' are sonic torpedos, ripping through the ear canals on collision course with the stimulated cerebrum in a way that sits well with some of Jamal Moss' more punishing works. Over the course of ten tracks, the sounds shift in intensity, and like the track titles of #2 and #3 on this tape (i.e. ‘Systematic' and ‘Techniques'), I find myself pondering how he actually creates these improvised constructions that avoid convention and embrace innovation, while somehow manage to retain a semblance to classic dance music in the purity of the drum sounds (See track 5: 'Ahaw').
Percussive and meditative in equal measure, the ten tracks of this long-player let us into GAP's (also known for his Dilian alias) inner world. As he told me, much of the compositions are hardware experiments; testing out synths and drum machines and seeing what works. Hence, there is an improvisatory feel to these tracks. When preparing for a live set, GAP’s tools are built for maximum artistic expression in a compact size; there are no computers here; rather, an OP-1 acts as a central brain, through which he works his magic with some custom MIDI-controllers and other mystery boxes. During his set at our local hangout, Dilian almost seemed disconnected/dissociated from reality, his quick fingers speaking in patterned code, modulating polyrhythmic mechanisms comprising all manner of drum samples and lush, hypnotic tape loops, with additional fragments sampled from his personal arsenal of hardware equipment stored at his Bed-Stuy studio, where this tape was recorded.
GAP playing live at Desterro in Lisboa, Portugal.
As the tape progresses, we hear GAP's sound revolve gyroscopically through abstracted, jacking improvisations delivered with a freestyle flair, the patterns ducking and weaving as the tape loops churn their way through the beats. Like a 4/4 box with its lid off, here, the out-of-context techno grooves spill out onto the proverbial floor, where they interact cordially with a plethora of synthetic textures, pops and waves. Although alien and noisily experimental, this release is impressively hypnotic bedroom listening material, while the tracks also work as complex club tools that would most likely catch the attention of any forward-thinking DJ.
Available in digital and cassette formats, GAP's Games Of The Future was released via the International Winners Bandcamp on October 15th, 2018.