The New Breed of Electro: Gesaffelstein

By Tristan Parker

We’ve all got time for quality electro when we hear it, but occasionally we yearn to hear something with more teeth – and consequently, more bite – than much of what an overly saturated scene tends to produce. Welcome, Gesaffelstein.

A protégé of fellow French electro-house talent The Hacker, Gesaffelstein, aka Mike Levy has been sneaking some of the slickest and heaviest electro under the radar for several years now, perhaps best displayed in his latest EP, Conspiracy Pt. II.

The influence of The Hacker (and other French producers like Arnaud Rebotini and Miss Kittin) may be evident when listening to both the Conspiracy EP series and earlier works (particularly the clubbier tones of the 2009 12” “The Operator”), but Gesaffelstein has succeeded in progressing the sometimes linear sound of those before him, blending it with suggestions of rave and dark IDM.

This desire to innovate has made him one of the brightest talents on Turbo Recordings, and – along with fellow Turbo act, Russian tech-electro demon Proxy – he is now contemporizing the chunky, jagged electro-house sound pioneered by Turbo label boss Tiga over the last decade. He has also achieved what many thought impossible – creating a sound with even more delicious sleaze than Tiga himself.

Thus, Levy’s brand of electro is the deepest, darkest and by far the dirtiest you’ll hear for some time. The obscenely low-slung synth bassline on “Viol,” the opener of Conspiracy Pt. II, for example, drips heavily through the track, lazily destroying anything in its path before morphing into an industrial pastiche of itself.

It’s stripped-back, raw electro, but its simplicity is mesmerizing, and shows that Gesaffelstein’s skill lies in effortlessly creating a hypnotic groove and locking-in the listener without them even realizing. The result? Club music from the clubs most people dare not enter.