A Guy Called Gerald Unofficial Web Page - Album Review: Automanikk A Guy Called Gerald: Automanikk

Album Review
A Guy Called Gerald Unofficial Web Page - Album Review: Automanikk Q Classic
March 2006
Page: 136
A Guy Called Gerald Unofficial Web Page - Album Review: Automanikk

A Guy Called Gerald
Columbia, 1990

One-time 808 Stater Gerald Simpson's acid-house opus.

Released in April 1990, ostensibly on the back of Simpson's ubiquitous dance hit Voodoo Ray, Automanikk put the Mancunian techno innovator in the big league. It's an album that translates well from club PA to home stereo, the fierce, Motor City techno-inspired Eyes Of Sorrow contrasting with the Mensch-Maschine robotics of the title track. Elsewhere, Detroit house luminaries Derrick May and Carl Craig add their imprimatur by remixing FX (Mayday Upgrade).

[Reviewer: DS]

  The New York Times
29 July 1990

A Guy Called Gerald's "Automanikk" (Columbia 46770; all three formats)

A Guy Called Gerald, led by Gerald Simpson, and Adamski both crank out tapocketa-pocketa rhythm tracks that club disk jockeys will find useful. Adamski favors buzzing, pogo-stick keyboard riffs, while A Guy Called Gerald features a vocalist, Viv, who suggests a latter-day Donna Summer. She sings about being powerless - against the beat, against emotions, against undefined forces.

[Reviewer: JON PARELES]

A Guy Called Gerald Unofficial Web Page - Album Review: Automanikk Billboard
30 June 1990
Page: 78

PRODUCER: Ricky Rouge
Subscape /CBS 466482

Wave of U.K. acid house synthmeisters continues to flood stateside dance floors with the onset of Gerald, who constructs a melange of atmospheric house jams, varying from sleaze-speed morning cuts to frenetic, peak -hour acid fests. Vocals are employed mainly as additional instrumentation, with the exception of "Emotions Electric 2" and "Eyes Of Sorrow," both of which are fronted with diva sparkle by Viv.

[Reviewer: Unknown]

A Guy Called Gerald Unofficial Web Page - Album Review: Automanikk Music & Media
16 April 1990
Volume 7, Issue 16
Page: 21

A Guy Called Gerald
Automanikk - CBS

Voodoo Ray, the debut single by this Manchester artist, charted at least twice over six months on both sides of the Atlantic. The LP is basically more of the same - hard dance beats and minimal melodies with a sprinkling of soul/gos-pel style vocals. Strictly dance floor material. Check out Mayday (Update) and FX.

[Reviewer: Unknown]

A Guy Called Gerald Unofficial Web Page - Album Review: Automanikk Record Mirror
7 April 1990
Page: 14

A Guy Called Gerald

Don't expect a D-Mob-style album which careers through various dance styles. Gerald is only interested in relentless house rhythms, in fact it seems he's stuck in fifth gear for the entire LP.

Strangely hypnotic, occasionally monotonous, 'Automanikk' is halfway to being an ambient album whilst still with the power to move the feet, consisting of either structureless instrumentals ('To The Other Side', 'FX') or songs with subtle melodies ('Emotions Electric 2', 'Automanikk'). Samples bounce around, synth noises ooh and ahh and little blips and bleeps jump in and out of the basslines. Nothing really stands out individually, though as an aural experience it makes a pleasing impression. Gerald would probably do better to drop the five-track-each-side album format and let his ideas develop more fully. The inclusion of 'Voodoo Ray Americas' in the package serves as a reminder that he's yet to surpass his finest moment to date, but there are plenty of interesting moments to discover on this album.

3 out of 5

[Reviewer: Tim Jeffery]

A Guy Called Gerald Unofficial Web Page - Album Review: Automanikk Sounds
7 April 1990
Page: 44

A Guy Called Gerald
(CBS 4664821 / CD) * * *

A Guy Called Gerald Unofficial Web Page - Album Review: Automanikk

THERE'S A right way and a wrong way. Last year, Cabaret Voltaire scandalised the Chicago House community when the promo video they'd filmed there featured the Sheffield duo's new-found pals with their names unsubtly inscribed at the bottom of the screen.

Manchester's Gerald is a little more self-effacing. Undoubtedly, he's come on since his formative Rham! days, when 'Voodoo Ray' strolled from lo-tech obscurity to chart cross-over. 'Automanikk' is a quantum leap in contrast, a refinement of the elements on the debut LP, 'Hot Lemonade', and a hint that better is to come.

It's not immediate, but Gerald's moods are striking. Vocalist Viv gives a haunting slant to 'I Feel Rhythm' and 'Eyes Of Sorrow', but his own vocal (I presume) on 'I Won't Give In' is plain embarrassing. What 'Automanikk' has, though, is a neat sense of humour (a goofy guest spot for Edward Barton for instance), that breaks the album's overall sterility and thankfully injects a little humanity into the machinery.

Derrick May's remix of 'FX' isn't too radical but the Techno influence is overwhelming; the title track, in particular, is staggeringly similar to Mickey Oliver's 'Anticipate', a hardcore Chicago dance cut that pre-empts Gerald's use of a digital voicebox. It would be hard to believe that Gerald hasn't heard it. Similarly, much of 'Automanikk' is just too close to its influences to really elevate itself. It's a strong British House album, but with barriers tumbling all the time, that's really nothing to shout about any more.

[Reviewer: Damon Wise]

A Guy Called Gerald Unofficial Web Page - Album Review: Automanikk Melody Maker
7 April 1990
Page: ??

A Guy Called Gerald
Subscape/CBS AGCG T2

A Guy Called Gerald Unofficial Web Page - Album Review: Automanikk

A GUY Called Gerald has a busy mind. It sucks in all it finds around it, irrespective of source or owner, and spills it back out, re-arranged into brash dance shapes. Consequently there are many triumphs, and the odd disaster. Yet "Automanikk" is never dull, rarely less than intriguing. It's amazing what a lively mind can do.

Real, Gerald is as state-of-the-art as we're gonna get in today's kicking dance scene. His hums with the productive turmoil of sequencers, samples, drum machines, with not a nod to rock in sight. Gerald himself is an absence, rarely audible; not for nothing is his function here defined as "sound designer''. The phraseology is perfect. He's always apart from this, his face pressed against studio glass, omniscient and overseeing. 

Yet his nature is still key to sussing this music. Gerald is impossibly unassuming, a naive child-figure, a disposition which jars superbly with his techno-suss. It's insanely easy to believe he was still working in MacDonald’s in Manchester when "Voodoo Ray" stood in the Top 10, unaware he was due reward for his efforts. When the pop/dance world is so full of schemers, stammers, cynic, you have to wonder if Gerald should even be allowed out of the house unchaperoned.

It's easy to claim "Automanikk" can only work in a club atmosphere, abetted by strobes, slides, visuals, vibes. Yet it's also misleading. Gerald's keen, sound experiments (which they are) don't have the frantic hook-laden urgency of Italian House; never go near any rap crossover. It's more an Acid-drenched ambient trance dance, a devout search for a good groove, and when Gerald locates one, he sticks to it like glue. At best, "Automanikk" is almost the soundtrack for the perfect club experience.

Gerald toys with pop, as he does with everything else." Eyes Of Sorrow", with its opening rainforest sample, has the alluring muted electro-throb of Electribe 101, never even needing a hook. Indeed, it's astonishing how completely the pop new gold dream of the early Eighties has been hijacked and effortlessly realised by today's dance fraternity, with their seamless, flawless, perfectly engaging pop concoctions. The answer lay in the studio all along?

Much of "Automanikk" is hazy psychedelia, but that's the wrong description for Gerald. He's always more than that. "To The Other Side", a busy House shuffle and shimmer, recalls The Shamen, yet with no hint of a manifesto; Gerald is far too blissed-out to agitate for change. Even on "I Won't Give In", a defiant rap, he sounds the most unconvincing rebel ever committed to vinyl, faded right back in the mix. But that's where he belongs. He's not needed.

Not everything works. "Stella" meanders in from outer space then goes nowhere, and there are graciously "zany" moments-an appearance from mad Edward Barton, and a crack which samples his PR men talking. Yet even this is tribute to Gerald's extraordinary openness, his lateral vision. He's willing to cry anything. "Automanikk" cakes us nowhere new; we'd got this far already. But it's one brilliant benchmark. Yeah, the state of the art in dance is looking just fine.

[Reviewer: IAN GITTINS]

A Guy Called Gerald Unofficial Web Page - Album Review: Automanikk NME
7 April 1990
Page: 32

A Guy Called Gerald
Subscape LP/Cassette/CD

IF YOU'VE taken enough interest in Gerald to take a sip of 'Hot Lemonade', his debut album on Rham! last year, or the soundtrack he made to compliment Trevor Miller's Trip City, then you'd realise there was much more to him than churning out puerile Euro house hits.

This certainly wouldn't be your idea of clubland refreshment if what you demand from a dance album are the quick climax, no sustenance returns of Italia. Don't get me wrong, this is still classic groovy stuff – big beats, gaspy vocals, seductive melodies, stamina enhancing mantras – what makes this different is that it's mellower, gentler, seductive.

In fact if you can listen to this album without wanting to slip under the sheets by the fourth track you've got a higher resistance than me. 'Automanikk' in full form produces a 60 minute wash of BIG abstract sound that even provokes the thought (how many house albums can do that?!). This man thinks he's making art doesn't he?

Gerald shares this approach to house music with fellow Mancunians and former associates 808 State, who in the midst of Hi-NRG Italia sent the ambient feel of 'Pacific State' scuttling up into the higher reaches of the charts and swimming pools and shopping centres worldwide.

Both groups share Detroit techno routes. Derek May re-mixed Gerald's 'FX' single of the first release on his Subscape label – and this album continues Gerald's forward looking feel along those tracks. There is nothing regressive about his style in the way Adamski or guru Josh are - A Guy Called Gerald is a composer not a performer.

The textures of 'Automanikk' are more even than 'Hot Lemonade' – probably because they've found a set direction - rather than standing in the centre of a circle and heading out towards ten different points of the circumference. 'FX' is included as is a new version of 'Voodoo Ray' on limited edition 12 inch insert to the LP along with new track 'Moroccan Black' (which sounds like it had more to do with his summer hols than the brand of cigarettes he smokes) and the obligatory 'Pacific State' steal-feel of 'Untitled'.

Gerald has obviously the talent to touch house music where it's never felt that cranium-splitting groove before.


[Reviewer: Helen Mead]

A Guy Called Gerald Unofficial Web Page - Album Review: Automanikk Mixmag
Issue 87
April 1990
Page: 45


An album of techno-inspired studio experiments is always going to prove slightly tiring to listen to all in one go. This has been proved by 808 State beyond doubt, but Gerald has given it his best shot on this mainly instrumental debut set for CBS. He does use a female vocalist on the title track and 'Emotions Electric 2', which is one of the better cuts. However most of the time he concerns himself with general weirdness, which doesn't always prove to be tunefully sympathetic or rhythmically danceable, but wins outright on simple strangeness.

[Reviewer: Steve Anderson]

A Guy Called Gerald Unofficial Web Page - Album Review: Automanikk 20/20
April 1990
Page: ??
A Guy Called Gerald

To be transcribed...

[Reviewer: Unknown]