MEROK (ME034, 12” + digital)
I’m reading the press release written by the people of Merok and I see a lot of the usual suspects name-checked by new electronic projects with horror as the background theme. “John Carpenter”, they say. Certainly. “Italo disco”. “House”. “Industrial”. And why don’t they get a little bit more specific and mention, while they’re at it, “Belgian new beat”, “EBM” and “cyberdelia”? There is a fundamental discrepancy with the premiere of Gatekeeper, the New York duo formed by Aaron David Ross and Matthew Arkell: while the theory says they have gobbled up loads of horror and B-films, most of the pieces on the “Giza EP” have a beat and the consistence of many European bands who make a crossover between gothic music and synth-pop (which is something entirely different). They’re not so much a vague, spectral and beautiful version of this year’s fashionable witch house, but a beefy and energetic variety, more industrial than subtle. “Serpent”, for example sounds like Nitzer Ebb. It doesn’t feature the aggressive voice, but the beat is almost techno and it sounds like music made with wild audiences in mind. I say all this because it seems that Gatekeeper want to transmit an idea that’s very different to what they actually are. There is more influence from A Split Second and Front Line Assembly than from horror movies; that is, in practice they sound more gruesome than mysterious. It’s only a nuance, but with a name like Gatekeeper –that makes me think of Hades–, a title like “Giza” (pyramids, Egypt, anyone?) and others like “Oracle”, I expected something more esoteric and not a record that could have been made during the first year of the R&S label or by The Future Sound Of London at their most psychedelic. However, let it be clear, I like it. But I could have liked it more the other way.
Gatekeeper - Serpent by TNUC