The musician Gesaffelstein is one of the most exciting techno acts to come from France today. In North America, Mike Levy is known for his collaborations with Kanye West on “Black Skinhead” and “Send It Up”, and comparisons between the two artists have long since been drawn based on the perfection that dictates their artistic aspirations. The story of Gesaffelstein is hard to separate from the man himself.
Levy plays on the visual cue of a Frenchman in a suit with a penchant for chain smoking through his sets. Something of a mysterious mantle rests over him that adds to the visceral allure of his violent, pure, and emotional sets. Supported by the likes of Laurent Garnier, Erol Alkan and Tiga, to name a few, Levy is a delight to those who adore the rapturous rave. A beloved collaborator on Brodinski’s Bromance Records, Levy has his own label with the Hacker, Zone, that is also well worth perusing.
Local opener Juan Ton said, “This show has been in the making for a long time. It was a huge honour to be on that bill. Genr8tion (Surkin) has also been a favourite. I hope people from Vancouver start to get hungry for more of this sound. I’m noticing more and more people that are interested… That could spark the opportunity for similar artists to come to Vancouver.”
As Juan Ton is currently involved in M.I.A.’s 1-800 night, he plans to focus on exactly that: bringing this sound to our glass city by “pushing high energy European/UK sounds that don’t fit into traditional dance music nights.”
It begins in darkness and cinematic overtures as Levy builds his way to the first Teutonic hits of “Shockwave”. ‘Ecstasy’ it was indeed, with the security guards at the front of the stage, occasionally flicking on their flashlights to see how far gone the crowd was. “Pursuit” came on not after that, the single from Levy’s debut, Aleph, which stands for the beginning. There is a wonderful interest with the past and future in Levy’s work, from artwork of Hellenistic sculptures like Laocoön and His Sons, and operatic vocals that pack diverse elements to the brutal techno.
Lasting late into the night as strong as it started, Levy commanded the floor, although, as a general rule, he plays for himself and does not cater to the audience. “Opr” and “Belgium” were gems snuck in the mix.
Dark and chic as hell, Levy put on a set Vancouver will want to see again.