- Jamie Ahmed
Review: Gene Tellem - Mind Reader EP [WOLF]
If you spent a night in a club in the Bladerunner universe, it would probably sound a little something like this. 4 tracks of moody, synth-heavy, atmospheric energy.
Heavily inspired by the collective energy and emotions of the live underground club experience, Canadian vibe conductor Gene Tellum returns to WOLF Music. Originally from Montreal, Gariépy has mastered the piano and jazz guitar. More recently she turned her talents to more electronic niches and broke out as Gene Tellem. Inspired by the artists around her, Gene’s signature sound involves freeform transformations creating a tangible sense of ambiguity.
The B-side of the release features an enchantingly angsty remix from Jenifa Mayanja, Ugandan-born, New York mainstay and label boss (Bumako Recordings, Sound Warrior & EDJ records). Known for her fearless, genre bending approach to djing and production, she has been on the underground, deep house circuit since the early 90s.
The EP opens with late night cruiser, “Ain’t Got Everything”. The understated, grumbly bassline lures you through a maze of progressing and pulsating synths, arps and vocals. The energy builds with similar subtlety, the perfect track to envelope you while you sway slowly in a dark room.
A2 brings a more uptempo cut. Despite maintaining the delicacy of the A1, ‘Mind Readers’ has more of a Detroit sound to it with punchy, skipping percussion, buzzing subs and a flickering, glitchy vocal. The entrancing vibe remains unbroken yet we are given more in the way of ‘danceability’.
On the flip side you’ll find “Ain’t Got Everything”’s more angsty younger brother. Jenifa Mayanja gives her take on the deep, hypnotic track weaving in hypnotic arps, pulsating analogue textures, blissful piano riffs and a sprinkling of intricate percussive elements. The rework gives a grittier edge to the original while maintaining its enigmatic, ethereal soul.
Concluding the EP we have the mystical, melodic track “2nd Time Around”. Perpetuating the supernatural energy with an 80s dystopian seasoning. Melancholic synthlines and shimmering pads combine with analogue-sounding bass to create a pleasantly discordant Dream House addition to the release.
The beauty of this EP is in the intricacy. While the celestial energy is immediately apparent, the subtlety of the track progressions catch you somewhat off guard. While I can’t wait to lose myself in a dark club room filled with friends and strangers, I’m perfectly happy sticking this on the monitors, closing my eyes and letting Tellum take me on a little trip to somewhere other than the local muddy common.
Gene Tellem's 'Mind Reader EP' drops via Phonica on the 26th February.