Lewis Fautzi: The Gare Album

Some albums straddle multiple genres and are thus hard to categorize, whereas others very clearly slot themselves into a specific genre. Lewis Fautzi's The Gare Album exemplifies the latter in its unqualified embrace of techno, with the Portuguese native's debut album titled after The Gare Club in Porto where he discovered the form. It would perhaps be more precise, however, to label the album's style art-techno given how craftily Fautzi has packaged its contents. Yes, there are bangers aplenty, but the producer also has been extremely artful in the way he's sequenced and designed the forty-seven-minute collection. More specifically, Fautzi bolsters the impression of the recording's identity as an album by using an intro (“Signal”), central interlude (“Opaque”), and Plastikman-styled outro (“Other Planet”) to break up the techno flow.

In keeping with the album concept, Fautzi introduces it with a two-minute ambient-drone setting, “Signal,” that eschews beats for textural crackle and industrial scene-painting before unleashing the booming kick drums for the album's first foray into pounding techno, “UVB-76.” Fautzi hews to techno tradition in powering the tune with a Tresor-like singlemindedness, while at the same time demonstrating a sophisticated sensibility in the way he progressively adds and strips away the elements.

Slowing the pace with a broken beat meditation after the forward rush of “UVB-76,” “The Other Side of Reality” affords the listener a moment to reflect before the onslaught of the hard-wired techno that follows. During this central part of the album, pounding rhythms push the punishing workouts “Sick,” “Range,” and “Loudness” forward with a fury and intensity that never wavers, while wiry synth patterns repeat so incessantly a mood of frenzy and delirium results. With “Opaque” offering a one-minute stopping point before the headrush of “Hope” and “Binary” arrives, Fautzi's plan of attack comes into ever clearer focus, the producer clearly sequencing the album so that the listener is able to catch his/her breath during the non-techno segments before strapping in for the intense ride of the muscular throwdowns. There's nothing objectionable about such calculation, however, and one comes away from The Gare Album impressed by Fautzi's conceptual vision and refined handling of sound design.

March 2014