Gonzales GonzalesIvory Tower
Boys Noize and Chilly Gonzales together? Suddenly, a light flashes across the room. The wind sweeps the pavement. There’s screaming in the streets. I look out of the window and I see people running. Hysterical women pulling out their hair. Cars burning. Dead people rising from their graves. Children with bleeding eyes devouring their gym teachers. An alliance like that can only lead to madness, the end of the world, a universal deluge of snot, blood, spunk, sweat and whiskey. A lot of whiskey. On one side, a producer of bubblegum responsible for some of the most whistled tunes by ravers the world over; Berliner Alexander Rhida is a vending machine of hits working 24/7, a party provider who has turned pop into disco-funk and has been able capitalise on the teachings of Justice and co. In the other corner, the entertainer written with capital letters, the crazy man, the hairy man, the misunderstood genius, the compatriot of Terrance and Philip, the schizo rapper, the great Gonzales. The lights are all over his big head, because after all, he is the superstar.
Two brains designed to together dazzle both pill-munchers and hipsters, two creative hurricanes comparing biceps, putting on bad-boy faces in front of the mirror and pulling a collection of tunes out from under their arms that we could qualify as psychedelic piano-electro-funk. The piano part is not gratuitous and will not be new to Gonzales fans, for he has already shown his great talent on the instrument on “Solo Piano”, the curious author record that landed him the respect of the culture gang and surreal comparisons to Érik Satie and even Billy Joel. Not to mention the stunt the Canadian pulled last year, setting a curious Guinness record by playing the piano for 27 hours without stopping. So get used to the idea, there’s a piano in every piece, but without abuse and recreation, which is great. Every melody is in its place.
The album starts with two killer dancefloor tunes which set the standard high for the rest of the disc. “Knight Moves” unfolds like a disco-kitsch delicacy that would make François Kevorkian cry like a baby, and the magnificent “I Am Europe” –one of the best tracks on the LP– is a wet dream full of dramatic pianos reminiscent of the music of “Baywatch”, Studio 54-style hedonism and the funniest lyrics in the middle of the song ( “I'm a dogshit ashtray… I’m an imperial armpit sweating Chianti ”, old Gonzo tells us). The more danceable and festive productions are where Ridha executes the best jumps and he gives the piano loops and occasional raps of the maestro an absolutely irresistible disco-funk dimension. On “You Can Dance”, the most seismic hit on the album, the couple unleash their full potential: claps overdose, nervous keys, winding bass lines, retro choruses and seventies sequins. The same pattern with “Siren Song”, but this time with some electric guitars halfway between “Magnum PI” and “The A-team” plus a vocoder moment that smells of ‘eau de Daft Punk’. But there are a few points on the record far removed from the dancefloor which, in spite of our suspicion, are worth exploring. They are the most soundscape-ish and psychedelic fragments, and are enjoyable despite their extravagance and kitsch brilliance. “Bittersuite” is a morphine trip to the other side of the universe. “The Grudge”, a rock opera with side-splitting raps as a bonus. “Rococo Chanel” sounds like a reinterpretation of the “Emmanuelle” soundtracks. And no matter how much it reminds me of Richard Clayderman, I like, actually I love “Crying”, an incredibly cheesy ballad with masterly aphorisms like “I don’t deal with issues, I just call my dealer.” Only a genius can say that and get away with it. Long live Chilly; fuck Speedy. Óscar Broc