Darkness is more than just the token descriptor we’ve landed on to detail Gesaffelstein’s brooding, shadowy sonic products. In fact, it’s more than merely his brand—at this point, Gesaffelsteinis darkness. Though, his embodiment of it is less about the sinister undertone of his productions now and more reliant on the literal concept of light’s absence, as represented in his Coachella performance on Sunday, April 14.
In his first live festival appearance since his 2015 farewell, Gesaffelstein became the only artist to every use Vantablack VBx2, commonly understood to be the darkest substance known to man. It the the closest visual representation to the darkness of a black hole that our eyes will ever see. The substance is typically used in space applications, though Mike Lévy had a different vision for its use. When applied to three-dimensional objects, Vantablack is so dark that it becomes nearly impossible to discern any surface features, and three-dimensional objects appear to become two-dimensional. Gesaffelstein’s Outdoor Stage performance featured a monolith structure coated in Vantablack on the concave side to create the illusion of infinite depth and blackness—essentially simulating a black hole on stage.
Hot off the heels of his sophomore album, Hyperion, Gesaffelstein is taking his craft to another level of other-worldliness. Catch Gesaffelstein again during Coachella’s second weekend and then Governor’s Ball later this summer.
Released as a single from the late Hyperion, Gesaffelstein‘s first album since 2014, “Blast Off” is a testament to the sleek, high profile nature of the project. Featuring Pharrell Williams, the track’s clean bassline and airy synths drum up images of an oddly familiar, though far off futuristic world–and now there’s a music video to match.
The video jumps back and forth between close-up shots of Pharrell’s emotive singing and Gesaffelstein’s light-laced outfit. Fitting the track’s dark but effortlessly glossy style, the video takes a sudden turn, with Matrix-like sceneries growing more frightful and intense with every frame.
Since erecting a series of cryptic billboards around the globe in October of 2018, Gesaffelstein has been gearing up for one of dance music’s most highly-anticipated releases of the decade. More than five years since the release of Aleph, his sophomore album, Hyperion, has finally arrived.
Michel Lévy foreshadowed his forthcoming LP’s stylistic departure late in 2018, with the release of its aptly-titled lead single, “Reset.” In the months since, he has reiterated this shift with “Lost in Fire” and “Blast Off,” his collaborations with The Weeknd and Pharrell Williams, respectively.
Bookended by two unusually melodic instrumentals (“Hyperion” and “Humanity Gone”), the album continues to explore Gesaffelstein’s new stylistic leanings. Lévy’s previously-unreleased tracks with HAIM and Electric Youth, “So Bad” and “Forever” align with the aforementioned collaborations. Both are slickly-produced pop hits likely to receive radio airtime, though the latter takes a delectably menacing turn near the end of its seven-minute run.
While the instrumental interludes “Ever Now” and “Memora” bear the most stylistic commonalities with Aleph, “Vortex” stands out as the album’s most sinister offering. Built upon harrowing synth-work and broken-beat rhythms, this selection evokes the artist’s famously menacing signature style while being utterly distinct from the rest of his catalogue.
In 2015, Gesaffelstein made history with his Aleph performance at Coachella; with his return to the festival just over a month away, Hyperion suggests he intends to leave another grandiose impact — one which will be different from anything he’s done thus far in his career.
With only a week remaining until the release of his duly anticipated Hyperion LP, Gesaffelstein has released its third single. Presumably the final song to be released before the full record is available, “Blast Off” is also its highest profile one. Featuring retro-inspired synthesis and the vocalizations of Pharrell Williams, the collaboration continues the French producer’s recent pop-leaning trend seen in “Lost in Fire.”
Though the track is more melodic and mainstream-appealing than Michel Lévy’s standard fare, it also retains more common ground with his signature industrial style than his collaboration with The Weeknd. Indeed, even his darker, broken-beat instrumental, “Reset” veers further away from the Gesaffelstein of yore.
Beneath Williams’ suave vocals, Lévy lays a framework of slick, mid-tempo bass that echoes the skeletons of his best work. And, at a time when it seems that dance music’s darkest artist may be heading toward the light, reminders of this nature serve to provide hope for his longtime fans that such is not the case.
Gesaffelstein has announced on the official track list and release date to his highly-anticipated Hyperion project, the French luminary’s debut offering on Columbia Records. Surprises include major collaborations with Pharrell Williams, HAIM, Bronwyn Griffin from Electric Youth, and The Hacker.
After teasing the new comeback album with lead single, “Reset” towards the end of 2018, another hint at the project direction was unveiled with “Lost In The Fire” featuring The Weeknd. Now, there will be eight additional new tracks to follow, landing in full on March 8, opening a new chapter in Gesaffelstein’s canon of dark, brooding techno. See the official Hyperion track list below.
Gesaffelstein and The Weeknd are back and goin’ bad on listeners again via “Lost In The Fire.” Gesaffelstein originally released a brief preview of “Lost In The Fire” on January 7, but now follows the teaser clip with a full-length version of the single. The collaboration functions as an exclusive first taste of the sound that remains yet to come in expanded form on Hyperion, Gesaffelstein’s debut offering on Columbia Records. In an extension of his elusive approach to musical releases, the French producer has yet to declare a formal drop date for Hyperion, but the album is nevertheless expected to arrive later this year.
A reprisal of their co-imaginative work on two cuts off The Weeknd’s first EP, My Dear Melancholy, “I Was Never There” and “Hurt You,” “Lost In The Fire” is a sensual number with a deep velvet tone. The silk of The Weeknd’s inimitable vocal glides atop the dark, grounded percussion that steadies “Lost In The Fire,” to situate the track in the shadowy depths of sound familiar to Gesaffelstein, whose catalog spans the full crepuscular continuum of tenebrous techno stylings. Tastefully tight lipped about Hyperion specifics, Gesaffelstein remains in the developmental stages of his first Columbia Records production, and given The Weeknd’s prior announcement that he too was at work on a new album, more Gesaffelstein and The Weeknd fun might well ensue.
The pair last linked on two tracks from The Weeknd’sMy Dear Melancholyin early 2018, and now the R&B star and French electronic visionary are priming fans for their next collaboration, arriving today in the form of a short teaser clip. Gesaffelstein’s LP debut, Aleph, first landed back in October of 2013, and he snapped a four year hiatus in December with the release of his sophomore album’s lead single, “Reset.” Currently, there’s no official release date for “Lost In Fire,” though with the newly surfaced teaser, expect the full single to follow closely.
The biggest news, of course, in Michel Lévy’s recent machinations was the release of “Reset” last week — his first single in years. Coming alongside a video, the eerie, broken-beat track all but confirmed the aforementioned LP rumors. After all, why would the covert Frenchman put so much effort into promoting a solitary song?
At long last, Gesaffelstein has confirmed that he does indeed have a new album on the way: Hyperion.
A mural stating “THIS IS THE COVER OF HYPERION, THE NEW ALBUM BY GESAFFELSTEIN” arose this week in Miami during their ongoing Art Basel festival. Emblazoned in a similar fashion to the famed billboards, it’s not fully clear if the announcement itself is the artwork for Hyperion or if the adjacent picture of a shattering black pane is. If the latter is the case, the LP’s packaging would be evocative of The Black Keys’ 2010 album, Brothers, which famously read, “This is an album by The Black Keys. The name of this album is Brothers.” Suffice it to say, Gesaffelstein wouldn’t find himself in poor company with such self-evident album artwork.
No release date for Hyperion has been confirmed at press time, but at the moment, we can all take a moment to revel in finally being able to say with conviction, “Gesaffelstein has a new album on the way.”