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Monday, October 31, 2005

Afro-Spiritual Glitch-Tech: Geez 'n' Gosh

Chris V. wishes that someone had taken Moby's idea of building techno beats around old blues samples a little further. Under his Geez 'n' Gosh alias, Uwe Schmidt (a.k.a. Atom Heart, Señor Coconut, and one half of Flanger) has done this -- though more with gospel than with blues, and he's taken it so far, in fact, that the result is not quite as accessible (to put it as diplomatically as possible) as Moby's Play.

It is, however, bizarrely danceable. Geez 'n' Gosh weds gospel to an over-the-top glitch tech/microhouse/click hop aesthetic -- the cut and paste, pops and clicks, making-dance-music-with-digital-detritus movement associated with people like Akufen and San Francisco's own The Soft Pink Truth. It is music that is nerdy and funky at the same time, and the gospel injection provided by Mr. Schmidt's sampling remains soulful because his lovingly over-programmed machine beats are equally soulful in their own way.

Listen to these clips of We Call On Him and Mother Showed Me (The Way To Go) from the 2002 Geez 'n' Gosh album Nobody Knows. The glitch sound may be old news, but this record points out one possible way that it could grow. The clicks and pops, the scratchy record noises we've grown used to hearing in our old blues and gospel recordings take center stage -- the singing provides human presence, context, and spirituality, but the accidental noises introduced by old vinyl, poorly stored master tapes, and primitive recording techniques (that have become an inescapable part of our 21st century gospel/blues experience) become the real basis for these new compositions.


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