Overlook of the Year 2012: GusGus – ‘Arabian Horse’

With all the new music that comes my way throughout the years, I often miss a release or two. This year I discovered that I’d completely missed an album from Icelandic synth-pornographers GusGus. The last I’d heard from them was 2009’s 24/7. A six-track album oozing with pheremonic, sexual basslines, lovingly unhinged modular synth noodlings and beats that get you moving. What I didn’t realise was that in 2011 they released a new album on Kompakt. Here’s a 20-minute taster courtesy of KEXP

Tracklist:

Selfoss

Arabian Horse

Over

 

The new album is 11 tracks long, and while still sounding like a GusGus record takes a more anthemic turn than 24/7. The hooks are infectious, the synth pads take on that hazy quality I like so much and the beats are solid in the same way a block of chocolate is solid. Not so hard they would injur you if thrown at you, but not so soft that Arabian Horse becomes a chillout record. If German modular synth manufacturers Doepfer need brand representitives they don’t need to look too far. Female vocalist Earth returns to sing on a couple of tracks (she hasn’t been on a GusGus record since 2006’s Forever.) while Daniel August Haraldsson has lost none of that androgenously awesome voice (seriously, I used to think his parts were sung by a woman before I actually saw him singing them.) It’s hard to pick any standout tracks because the whole album is of a really high calibre, but I would have to pick Selfoss as 2011’s best opening track ever, Deep Inside for combining that compound time with those pads, and Benched for a low-end that what it’s like to have tiny mining equipment drilling through your eardrums and ossicles.

As with all the recent GusGus albums, Arabian Horse is a serious keeper and I simply can’t believe I missed this last year!

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