Despite having an almost impossible-to-pronounce name (just fill your mouth up with marbles, make some guttural sounds, and you've nailed it), Gesaffelstein is sauntering his way to the top of the French techno god pantheon. After two years in the making, his debut album Aleph dropped yesterday on Brodinski's Bromance--the record label that's basically like the "bad boys club" of the French milieu (the label's second owner, Manu Barron, also has his fingers in Parisian hotspots like Paris Social Club and David Lynch's Silencio).
This may be Gesaffelstein's first full-length, but this definitely isn't his first time at the rodeo. G-stein (we might just call him that from now on) is fresh off a stint on the Greatest Album of All Time aka Kanye West's Yeezus. He co-produced both "Send it Up" and "Black Skinhead"—yes, those angry industrial beats that everyone gobbled up were actually the work of this leather-swathed and black-suited Frenchman.
Even Ye himself is not immune to G's style—dark, brooding, yet insanely catchy tracks that sound like they were assembled in a filthy factory by gothic robots. Literally every person we speak to wants to gobble him up piecemeal with a little caviar spoon. And have you looked at his photo? The man is très chaud. Oh Gesaffelstein, let us enumerate the reasons why we adore thee.
1. HE'S GOT A GOD COMPLEX (BUT WHO DOESN'T THESE DAYS)
Aleph is not just the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. It's also associated with the divine, and means "master." According to Jewish mythology, the letter aleph was carved into the head of the golem, which gave it life. Seems like Mike Levy knows he's the chosen one. Then again, maybe Aleph is just named after Natalie Portman's baby.
2. HIS VIDEO FOR "PURSUIT" IS BETTER THAN ANY MOVIE YOU SAW LAST SUMMER
Plus it has hot butts.
3. HE SNUCK A MARILYN MANSON BEAT ONTO YEEZUS
Even Marilyn Manson isn't sure if the gothy chug-a-chug on the beat for "Black Skinhead" is a direct sample or just a clever simulation, but the reference is unmistakable. Liner notes on Yeezus give no credit to the Manson original, but with the snarling industrial sounds and heel-stomping aggression, this is clearly leather music of the highest order. Shout out Gessafelstein for sneaking this onto Ye's new album. Oh, and while we're on the subject, make sure you check rapper Angel Haze's bombastic take on the original, and the classic DJ Sega remix while you're at it.
4. BUT HE'S NO KANYE FANBOY
Unlike many who are quick to jump aboard the crowded train of Kanye worship, Gesa said in a recent Mixmag interview that he doesn't even really like hip-hop. "I did the Kanye stuff not because I'm a fan, but because for me it's interesting to make some new music in an old style."
5. HE CONTINUES TO REMIND US OF HOW DARK TECHNO CAN GET
Zone Records in the shiz-niiit! With all of the unbridled exuberance that's leaked into the corners of global dance music, we can thank Gesaffelstein's Zone Records for dragging happy ravers back into the poorly lit cyber-dystopian hell from whence we came. THIS IS TECHNO, MOTHERFUCKERS. GET THOSE SMILES OFF OF YOUR STUPID FACES. Also, don't miss the totally creepy mini-noir music video we aired for Djedjotronic's new single, "The Abyssal Zone."
6. HE'S ON #TEAMEINSTEIN
Why the fuck is a French DJ going under a German-sounding name? Is this another "Hey my name is Joey Youngman, but I'm going to change my name to Wolfgang Gartner to sound more European" moment? Nah, that's wack. Gesaffelstein is actually a contraction that combines "Einstein" (one of his idols) with a German word that means "the paroxysm of art between image, sound and video." Dude probably would've gotten a million points on the SAT.
7. HE MAKES PERFECT VIDEO GAME MUSIC
If you tune in to the Radio Soulwax channel while cruising around in your convertible in GTA 5, you'll hear a guy whispering "ecstasy" to an abrasive electro hook. It's Gesaffelstein's remix of The Hacker's "Shockwave." If you can think of a better soundtrack for boning bitches and offing thugs, let us know.
8. HE ROCKS A SUIT BETTER THAN BOND
The dude is absolutely dripping in swaggery. Who knew dark techno would pair so well with a dark suit? Some people look stupid when they try to DJ in trendy #menswear, but that's probably just because they're not Gesaffelstein.