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Larry Gus : Years Not Living

I hate to be a downer, but I don’t think we’re going to see that new Avalanches album anytime soon. You know the one: the decade in the making follow-up to their now classic debut (Since I Left You), the one we’re assured every six months or so is “nearing completion”? Yeah, sorry, that’s not happening, not this year; I mean, if the Australian collective want to give us a MBV-style Xmas surprise, I’ll happily be proved wrong, but barring some kind of music industry miracle I just can’t see it. Don’t shoot the messenger, though, for he brings news of a worthy successor to the party-psych throne. September 2 sees the release of Years Not Living, the latest full-length effort from Greek DJ, producer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Panagiotis Melidis AKA Larry Gus, an amalgamation of sunny sample-pop and loose-limbed hip hop funk that sits comfortably alongside the aforementioned Since I Left You, DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing and records by the likes of Caribou, J. Dilla and the Go! Team in the pantheon of great cut & paste musical collages. Constructed largely from looped snippets of obscure ’60s and ’70s prog-rock, jazz and world fusion records, Gus’ paisley patchworks skilfully blur the lines between immediate, hook-heavy dancefloor-fodder and dense, multi-layered headphone music; on first listen, for example, you probably wouldn’t realise that the thumping, Kraut-hop beat that propels opener “With All Your Eyes Look” is actually only two bars’ worth of actual drumming, or that “The Eternal & The Ephemeral” features what sounds like a field recording of a New Orleans funeral procession buried under layers of percussion, chimes and free jazz skronk. Similarly deceptive are the two voices that are scattered liberally over the album, one a deep, dolorous croon pitched somewhere between Davids Bowie and Byrne, the other an airy falsetto, both of which – somewhat surprisingly – belong to Gus himself. Whilst nobody could dispute his DJing credentials (you only have to listen to his recent mixes for Construct and Thump to appreciate how skilled he is in the ancient art of moving bodies and minds), Gus has thus far seemed like an odd fit for the DFA label, one that would probably feel more at home with the crate-diggers at Stones Throw than with James Murphy’s hipster-beloved stable, but these vocals – these half-mumbled melodies and zombie chants – make sense of the connection, transforming Gus’ productions into deliciously leftfield mutant disco pop songs. Wildly experimental but accessible enough to appeal to hip hop heads, indie kids and the club crowd alike, Years Not Living won’t just fill a void, it’ll pull you in and blow your mind; listen to “The Night Patrols (A Man Asleep)” below.


About foamhands

My name is Michael Dix; I'm a decade or so past being down with the kids, but to me new music never gets old. Apparently I like music that sounds like faulty kitchen appliances and ritual slaughter; really I just like what I like, whether that happens to be indie, pop, punk, hip hop, metal, electronica, Afrobeat or jazz. Follow me on Twitter @FoamHandsBlog to receive notifications of new posts and the occasional random brain-fart, and please share links wherever you can. Enjoy!

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