Gesaffelstein- New Deal, New Song, New Sound?

With a string of EPs dating back to 2008, Mike Lévy, better known as Gesaffelstein has been building up a cult following for more than a decade. The French DJ and electronic musician is best known for his ominous sound that draws influence from the worlds of industrial techno and electro house. His music is as enchanting as it is dark. The aggression of the beat is often palpable, and yet you continuously find yourself more and more entranced by each sequential loop. 

Photo by: Pitchfork

In 2013, Gesaffelstein started to break into the mainstream with production credits on two songs off of Kanye West’s sixth studio album, Yeezus. Alongside co-producers Daft Punk, Brodinksi, and Mike Dean, Gesaffelstein influenced the sound of the album’s lead single, “Black Skinhead” as well as the industrial deep-cut, “Send it up”. Shortly thereafter, Gesaffelstein released his debut album, Aleph which was met with critical acclaim from the EDM community. The success of Aleph can largely be attributed to the thought-proving visuals put forth in Gesaffelstein’s music videos. Videos for the songs, “Pursuit” and “Hate or Glory” do an incredible job of translating the artist’s flair for the dramatic from sound to screen.

With the release of Aleph, Gesaffelstein began working his way into the festival circuit, most notably with an appearance at Coachella in 2015. By this point in time, the French DJ was still relatively unknown by most, but within the dance music scene his cult following had only grown stronger. Gesaffelstein put forth a relentlessly intense and captivating performance that proved to be one of the best sets of the weekend, two weeks in a row.

Since that final Coachella performance, Gesaffelstein has been relatively quiet working on new music and preparing to push his name even further into the mainstream. After producing a pair of tracks off of The Weeknd’s, My Dear Melancholy EP, he signed a deal with Columbia Records in November 2018. The backing of a major label could do wonders for Gesafflestein’s exposure, however one can only wonder how this decision will affect the sound of his music. Can we still expect the same grime and haunting darkness? Or will he show his artistic range and make more digestible music for the masses?

The release of Gesafflestein’s sophomore album, Hyperion is already set for early 2019 and, just last month, the artist released his debut single, “Lost in the Fire,” once again featuring Toronto’s king of R&B, The Weeknd. The song is consistent with the artist’s overall sound, but has also been met with a few critiques on both sides of the fence. Fans of his darker music are arguing that the song is too light and upbeat, while new listeners are calling into question The Weeknd’s lyrical content. Surely the label has had some influence, but it remains to be seen whether or not Gesaffelstein will stray far from his traditional sound.

Photo by: @theweeknd

Gesaffelstein will return to Coachella in April, 2019 where he is rumored to be closing the outdoor stage on Sunday. He will also be performing at the Governor’s Ball in May. No other tour dates have been announced, but if you have the chance to catch his show, be prepared for a thoroughly alluring experience that is focused solely on the music. Unlike most DJs, you won’t hear Gesaffelstein pick up a microphone and address the crowd. The only sound you’ll hear is crowd, teeming with anticipation as he lights another cigarette and unleashes another wave of chaotic bass. 

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