Guy Gelem

[Split Femur Recordings,]

  London-based Guy Gelem plays guitar, cello and laptop. His debut release "Works" comes at a time when a good number of people are using instruments to process them further via electronic means. What grabs me about the release is its title. Why would anyone putting out their very first record want to capture it under the title of "Works"? It could be that Gelem is trying to say, "This is my work so far, to date. This is what I've accomplished." The thing that immediately strikes the listener is the music's immediacy and starkness. Gelem works with so little and achieves so much. Delicacy in his guitar plucking and cello sways is mixed up front. Nothing is hidden behind the mesh of fancy electronics. Nothing is left to chance. Electronic side of the album's spectrum is there to provide a background, rather than setting the pace. Take "Drawing Dates" as an instance, where a barely audible beat keeps time for the grand cello sweeps and guitar tapestry. In a very unobtrusive way, the fragile beats populate the tracks on this record, giving the string instruments a slight backbone to lean on. One drawback to the record is its half-an-hour duration. Just when the composer warms up, it all comes to a crushing halt. Tender and hauntingly gorgeous, Guy Gelem is someone I'll have on my radar screen going forward.

  - Tom Sekowski

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