WORDS: OUR DARK LORD RISES... THE RETURN OF GESAFFELSTEIN
Our Dark Lord Rises: Gesaffelstein
Vantablack headlines are everywhere, and for two weekends in a row Mike Lévy aka Gesaffelstein walked through golden pillars of light unto a new crowd after almost 5 years of public absence. His sudden reappearance through billboard ads in the world’s largest cities were followed by the sophomore LP ‘Hyperion.’ Haunting atmospheres, detuned synthesizers, and minimalist aesthetics were once again successfully delivered.
Coachella brought out new, old, and revised Gesaffelstein. Thousands moved to the violent 808 percussion, choir chants and transgressive synth-work. The man played classics from his discography including Control Movement, Hate Or Glory, Hellifornia, and live versions of OPR and Pursuit. Hyperion content like ‘Blast Off’ with Pharrell Williams, ‘Forever’ feat. The Hacker & Electric Youth, the hip-hop influenced ‘Reset,’ and a live version of ‘Lost In The Fire’ with The Weeknd were debuted alongside two new ID’s.
Back and forth between two DJ booths, Gesaffelstein chopped and filtered his sounds, repeating kick drums and syncopating vocal leads. No cigarettes were smoked during the performance, which leaves us to wonder whether he’s made a move for the healthier. Gesaffelstein appeared more theatric, paced in dance, and deity-like than in 2015.
Boasting an outrageous obsidian black and chrome outfit akin to Michael Jackson’s suit from Captain Eo, and donning a completed face mask: the god-complex was never more evident. "To build upon the look of Gesaffelstein’s uniquely enveloping mask, my team and I have relied on an array of black velvets, metals, leathers and sequins to place him within an entirely black shell, creating a striking new and compelling stage persona,” says Olivier Rousteing, the creative directer at French luxury fashion house Balmain. The outfit contrasted strongly with the Vantablack coated obelisks in the background. Vantablack, a technical material developed by British company Surrey NanoSystems, absorbs 99.96% of reflected light - giving way to complete darkness.
Five years ago the man disappeared.
In 2017 I spoke with close friend and collaborator Louis Brodinski about Gesaffelstein’s whereabouts. He responded, “I don’t know exactly what he’s doing, but I know he’s working on music.” We do know he scored the French-Belgian drama-thriller ‘Maryland’ in 2015. Could Hyperion be everything that was completed during his absence?
Shortly before the Colombia Records reveal, promotional material surfaced via Zone Records. The joint venture between French producer The Hacker and Gesaffelstein has yet to put forth any solo material. Although absent from Zone’s 10th anniversary party, we may expect more collaborative material soon.
Tour dates have been announced. This Fall, Americans will have the chance to witness the new stage production as the show makes way through cities including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Detroit, Atlanta and more. Titled Requiem, and themed as ‘Against The Night, Across The Time,’ ‘A Truth, A Sermon, A Sacrifice’ reveals the event will be highly dramatic, pushing usual themes of masochism, vainglory, and superego.
Expect the unexpected.