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

Album Review
A Guy Called Gerald Unofficial Web Page - Album Review: Essence Music Emissions
18th March 2003
A Guy Called Gerald
(K7! 2000)

3.5 stars out of 5

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

Some may remember techno godfather Gerald Simpson from a few years back and his drum and bass release, Black Secret Technology. This time around Gerald is shooting for more of a jazzy, sexy feel in the vein of 4hero. Breakbeats are still abundant on here but Simpson relies a lot on the beautiful voice of UK diva, Wendy Page, to provide many of the sexy vocals contained within. Also included are vocals by Lamb's own Louise Rhodes, featured on one of the albums best tracks, "Humanity". Lady Kier (ex-Dee-lite) is showcased on "Hurry To Go Easy". If the vocals don't do it for you you will have to listen a little closer to the complex arrangements. Take for instance "Final Call", one of the albums best instrumental tracks. Gerald provides something for everyone on Essence and also proves that his production skills are still very relevant. A trip very much worth taking.

[Reviewer: Dennis Scanland]

A Guy Called Gerald Unofficial Web Page - Album Review: Essence Q
October 2000
Page: 119
A Guy Called Gerald

Just when you thought it was safe to believe in the end of drum'n'bass.

This is the first record from Manchester-born Gerald Simpson - aka A Guy Called Gerald - since 1995's stunning Black Secret Technology. Despite the fact it was Goldie who made the headlines that year, for a while it was a close run thing as to which of the two would make the most impact with their groundbreaking drum'n'bass. In the end Goldie's larger-than-life personality won out and Simpson disappeared from view. Five years in the making, this new album finds him picking up where he left off, trying to push the now stagnant drum'n'bass scene on with an LP of sleek, sophisticated and teasingly soulful tunes. Eerily introverted one moment, warm and open the next, Essence demands concentration but makes for an intriguing, rewarding experience.


[Reviewer: David Roberts]

A Guy Called Gerald Unofficial Web Page - Album Review: Essence Uncut
October 2000
Page: 76


Ambitious futurist fusion epic from reborn acid pioneer

Gerald Simpson never quite lived up to the promise of his early rave classics and seminal work with 808 State, although his 1995 album Black Secret Technology proved he could reinvent himself as a cutting-edge junglist with both smooth and dark sides. Here he expands that format into a sci-fi futurist panorama of soulful drum'n'bass and scrambled, Trickyesque trip hop featuring various guest vocalists, including Deee Lite's Lady Miss Kier on the skittery scat-jazz rattle of "Hurry To Go Easy". This 15-track fusion epic loses momentum several times and breaks scant new ground, but there are enough inspired collisions to prove that Gerald's still a sharp operator.

[Reviewer: Stephen Dalton]

A Guy Called Gerald Unofficial Web Page - Album Review: Essence Spin
October 2000
Page: 190
(Studio !K7)
A Guy Called Gerald Unofficial Web Page - Album Review: Essence

Here's my foolproof one-point plan for reviving jungle: Buy every DJ and producer on the scene a "Respect the Black Woman" T-shirt. For a music that once advertised its universalist aspirations, jungle has become a boys' club, leaving its house roots far behind to veer between the clinical and the aggro - happy to let a ragged-voiced MC bark over the din but unwilling to make room for a woman's croon. Even a sweet-heart like Roni Size, who's genuinely interested in the female voice, usually drowns it out by sticking his rat-a-tat-tat too high in the mix. No wonder the gals all fled to the warm R&B embrace of 2-step garage.

Gerald Simpson (a.k.a. A Guy Called Gerald) of the pioneering 1989 single "Voodoo Ray" was one of the first acid house artists to leap into jungle, and his fourth record, 1995's Black Secret Technology, was arguably jungle's first great single-artist album. (Omni Trio's Music for the Next Millennium is the stiff competition.) The long-awaited follow-up, Essence, features three different wimmen singers, each of them treated with care. On "Fever (Or a Flame)" and "Beaches and Deserts" he lets Wendy Page stretch out before lush, expansive canvases, and on "Hurry to Go Easy," he stands back while Deee-Lite's Lady Miss Kier scats ineptly over jungle's sacred amen break. Some of the songs are only as strong as their arrangements, but even then the result is solid trip-hop bejeweled with top-flight breaks. The sound may be five years old, but Essence's insistence that jungle left something valuable behind back in '95 is a major part of its appeal. It's as if Gerald's as happy behind the times as he was ahead of them.


[Reviewer: JEFF SALAMON]

A Guy Called Gerald Unofficial Web Page - Album Review: Essence Alternative Press
October 2000
Page: 84

Drum & bass pioneer returns with an expansive pop gem.

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

From the opening meditation on the body, consciousness and universality, and sliding into the sublime undulations of "The First Breath," you know that this isn't your average drum & bass album. The man called Gerald may be one of the original junglists, but Essence reminds the listener that just as his career predates the rise of drum & bass, his range extends far beyond the typical borders of the breakbeat universe. True, he sticks closely to the percussive flow of drum & bass, but he explodes the form, stretching the dynamics far beyond brute bassbin rumble. In contrast to dystopian, sci-fi sound, Gerald's production is warm, organic, even sweet. Just check "Glow," a radiant flare-up of breakbeat balladry. Or, at the other extreme, "Fever (Or A Flame)," with its haunting, unforgettable spiral of a chorus. But Gerald hasn't left his roots behind; Anglo-Caribbean vibes inform every track, coming to the surface prominently on the eerie, halfspeed ragga track "Could You Understand." But, most interestingly, around the angular skeleton of dubbed-down bass and fractured breaks, he's wrapped the living form of actual songs.

With vocals and songwriting contributed by artists like Lamb's Louise Rhodes, Miss Lady Kier and Wendy Page, he's created a bonafide pop album - smokily soulful, sure, but armed to the teeth with hooks and refrains, radio-ready and simultaneously transcendent.

(Studio K7, 210 5th Ave., New York NY 10010) Philip Sherburne

With A Guy Called Gerald

First off: Is Essence a drum & bass album?

It started out that way, but I've lived with it, and it's grown. I've been listening to a lot of other types of music. I'm trying not to get tied up in any one genre. When I started out doing music, it was all just house music, and you could concentrate on doing your music. You didn't have to think about what style it was going to be; it was fun. Nowadays, there's just too many [styles]. I don't really want to upset anyone by saying it's any one thing.

You've recently moved away from London - what brought you to New York?

It's just a change a change of pace, a chance to be away from London for a little while. There's a lot of trendsetting going on over there - it's always about the next big thing, and you tend to overlook music as music. It's like you're running a race. It's really competitive. And I just wanted to do what I started off doing. The reason I was making music wasn't because I wanted to be in a race with anyone, it was because I wanted to create music! Over there, there's too fast a turnover, and a lot of good music gets overlooked. Stuff gets attention just because it's new, but it doesn't matter if it has any content or not - it swims around for a while, and then just disappears. I don't think music should be that disposable. I had to get out of that whole scene for a little while.

In a way, maybe we're lucky, because here in the States, electronic music is a little more underground - it's not going to be the next big thing.

When I first got into doing house music, what was inspiring me was that it was really underground. It wasn't really popular or well known. In fact, people hated it. And that gave it a really raw quality. And then they found an angle to market it, and it started getting into the charts. So I started up my own little record label, and I started releasing breakbeat ravey stuff, and then that started to get dubby, and that turned into jungle, and that developed into drum & bass. Then the same thing started to happen - people started to do remixes for chart bands, and it started getting really poppy, and the soul got sucked out of it! And I thought, "What's going on here?" It's like every time you go underground, they dig you up! In a way, I've backed off by coming over here. I wanted to focus on the musical aspects. I've started focusing on doing songs and all; I'm not into being knocked about within a scene that's too volatile to settle on any one thing.

Track Listing

01 The Universe
02 The First Breath
03 Humanity
04 Multiplies
05 Fever (Or A Flame)
06 Could You Understand
07 Alien Report
08 Glow
09 Beaches & Deserts
10 Final Call
11 I Make It
12 Universal Spirit
13 Hurry To Go Easy
14 Scale Circle
15 Landed


Lamb's Fear Of Fours
Smith & Mighty's Big World Small World
4 Hero's Two Pages

[Reviewer: Philip Sherburne]

A Guy Called Gerald Unofficial Web Page - Album Review: Essence Trax
No. 33
September 2000
Page: 69
A Guy Called Gerald Unofficial Web Page - Album Review: Essence


Attention grand sage ! Celui dont on était sans nouvelle depuis un Black Secret Technology séminal, le dénommé Gerald Simpson, Mancunien par l'état civil et objet de culte au sein de 808 State à l'orée des 90's, renalt de ses cendres à New York sur un label allemand, entouré comme jamais. Vu les déboires ayant émaillé sa déjà longue carrière, le Guy pourrait légitimement cultiver une certaine aigreur. Loin s'en faut à l'écoute de son quatrième opus, où Gerald se pose discrètement en rédempteur de la scène drum'n'bass, confiant dans le pouvoir apaisant de chansons électroniques "abandonnées" à une brochette de voix illustres et talentueuses. Ni breakcore plombé ou bleeps dissonants dans cet ensemble de 15 titres pétri d'humanisme. Mais la somptueuse présence de Louise Rhodes (Lamb), qui vient prêter sa voix gracile à un "Humanity" réconcilié avec le genre humain. Le reste des collaborations est à l'avenant, de Lady "Deee Lite" Kier sur un "Hurry To Go Easy" néo-psychédélique, emblématique de l'évolution "positive" d'une jungle adoucie, à Wendy Page, qui signe avec "Beaches & Deserts" l'un des sommets crépusculaires de cet Essence tourné vers la lumière. Certains s'inquiéteront peut-être de voir l'oeuvre de Gerald quelque peu vidée de son aspect visionnaire, les autres se régaleront avec ce disque de jungle "grand public", loin de la radicalité jusqu'au-boutiste actuellement en vogue.

[Reviewer: Franck Bolluyt]

A Guy Called Gerald Unofficial Web Page - Album Review: Essence Muzik
September 2000
Page: 68
Essence (K7)

Manchester's eternal 'Voodoo Ray' fella plays it cool

GERALD Simpson has remained largely silent since his lauded 'Black Secret Technology' album five years ago. Having long moved away from the tense adrenalin - rush of 'Gloc' (and indeed England – he lives in New York), 'Essence' furthers the 'BST' legacy of melodic jungle, with only hints of the old, darker undercurrent remaining. Recorded largely with vocalist Wendy Page, plus soulful contributions from David Simpson and Lamb's Louise Rhodes, it's sometimes too smooth for it’s own good. But Lady Miss Kier's scat singing on 'Hurry To Go Easy' and the sheer loveliness of the lilting guitar-based 'Beaches And Deserts' make you forgive Gerald's occasional descent into the rear-of the coffee table.


[Reviewer: Neil Gardner]

A Guy Called Gerald Unofficial Web Page - Album Review: Essence Knowledge Magazine
Vol. 2, No. 18
September 2000
Page: 62

The long-awaited comeback album from A Guy Called Gerald is a typically complex affair possessing a heavy bent towards vocals and searching lyrics. I didn't find this a particularly easy album to listen to, but it does run deep and so needs some sinking-in time. Ranging from ambient and downtempo, to breakbeat and sub-jungle rhythms, 'Essence' is a very suitable title for this well-rounded journey into the music of this maverick Mancunian producer. Vocalists involved in the project include Lamb's Louise Rhodes on the dreamy 'Humanity', and Wendy Page, who features on six tracks, most critically 'Fever (Or A Flame)' and 'Universal Spirit', sounding none too dissimilar to label-mates Smith & Mighty, and the wonderfully blissed out strains of 'Beaches and Deserts'. Male vocals come from David Simpson on the retro reggae breakbeat of 'Could You Understand' and the similarly styled 'I Make It', which are full of that old S.U.A.D. flava. Finally, Lady Miss Kier appears on the junglist inflections of 'Hurry To Go Easy'. I was quite harsh on this album upon first listen so, if you feel such sentiments to begin with, try and give it a bit more time to properly do its work on you.

[Reviewer: RA]

A Guy Called Gerald Unofficial Web Page - Album Review: Essence Intro
Issue 77
September 2000
Page: 101
(Studio K7 / Zomba)

Dieser Mann ist schon lange im Geschöft. Bereits 1989 sorgte er mit mitTeenhymnen wie "Hot Lemonade" für seinen Beitrag zur englischen Rave-/Clubszene. Damals war sein Sound noch recht Lo-fi, kindliche Melodien knatterten fröhlich aus der Beatbox. Und wie bei älter werdenden Musikern nicht mal unüblich, konsolidierte er sich und sein Sounduniversum entlang der Pfade Drum'n'Bass und seriöser Maturität. Das heißt: mehr Rhythmik, "erwachsenere" Sounds, höhere Komplexität. Schon bei "Block Secret Technology" von 1996 war er bei softem D'n'B in de Nachbarschaft von z. B. LTJ Bukem angelangt. Viele Flächen, spaßige Intros, atmosphärisches Gefrickel. "Essence" ist nun noch mehr Hightech, soundmäßig stimmt dajede Note. Totale Perfektion. Wendy Page und Louise Rhodes geben den Stücken als Gastsängerinnen elegante Melancholie. "Beaches & Deserts" ist eine klasse D'n'B-Ballade, bei der gewagt wurde, die Sweetness konsequent zu Ende zu denken. fils einziges Manko kann vielleicht der fehlende "Dreck" gewertet werden. Hardcore-Drum'n'Bass'lern dürfte die Platte doch zu soft' sein; sie muss deshalb eigentlich unter "Pop" verbucht werden.

[Reviewer: MARKUS KOCH]

A Guy Called Gerald Unofficial Web Page - Album Review: Essence The Guardian
11th August 2000
Review Page: 12
A Guy Called Gerald
Essence (Stud!o K7)


According to fickle pop culture, after 12 years' of service A Guy Called Gerald shouldn't be here at all. But then, Gerald Simpson has always been an unusual musical pioneer. Arguably the most important dance producer since the dawn of acid house, Mancunian-born Gerald has created a set of musical benchmarks in both house and drum'n'bass.

In 1988 he wrote the classic Voodoo Ray and 808 State's Pacific State, for which he was paid only £200 - at that time he was banging out tune after tune for lesser talents, only to be ripped off. After a disastrous spell at CBS (Sony), he announced that he would now use his sampler to program trance-like rhythms with breakbeats. The result was 28 Gun Bad Boy, a collision of gangster posturing, urban malevolence and a deadly cargo of breakbeat bombs that saw Gerald invent jungle.

Essence is a sophisticated album: the dominant mood is one of desolate beauty. It embraces gospel, blues, Detroit techno, dub and jazz, but the unconventional way Gerald plays them bends all the rules. At the same time, he breathes new life into vocal-led drum'n'bass, twisting the traditional song structure to suit his own purpose.

The vocalists' emotive performances are the album's crowing glory: recent single Humanity matches his hazy synths, slinky beats and melodic beauty with Lamb vocalist's Louise Rhodes's truly poignant singing. Refreshingly, Gerald eschews the MC for a classy male R&B singer, his elder brother David, who sings Could You Understand and the intense gospel groove of I Make It as if his life depended on it. Bolstered with slabs of funk, I Make It ranks among the most irresistible dance tracks of the past two years.

The strength of this project lies in the collective energy generated by all the participants. But the straight drum'n'bass tracks, The First Breath, Final Call and Scale Circle also reveal a great imagination at work, pinpointing Gerald's awesome programming skills and making it clear that this vision is entirely his own. A perfect synthesis of Gerald's rhythmic techniques and soulful drum'n'bass, Essence is a triumph.

[Reviewer: Maxine Kabuubi]

A Guy Called Gerald Unofficial Web Page - Album Review: Essence The Independent
6th August 2000

The last we heard of Gerald Simpson was 1995's Black Secret Technology, which was fairly influential in the burgeoning intelligent drum'n'bass scene. In Essence, we find that Gerald hasn't really moved on from there - which is excellent news. The electronic wizardry and precise drum programming of instrumentals "Final Call" and "The First Breath", make one wish for a little less of the pseudo-spiritual vocals, although Wendy Page is seductive on "Beaches and Deserts" and Lady Kier (of Deee-Lite) does some wicked scatting on "Hurry To Go Easy". All in all, one of the year's best drum'n'bass albums.

[Reviewer: LP]

A Guy Called Gerald Unofficial Web Page - Album Review: Essence Wax
August 2000
Page: ??
Wax Magazine - Album Of The Month

"Essence LP"
(Studio K7)

It has been five years since Gerald Simpson first released the 'Black Secret Technology LP' on his own Juicebox imprint. In addition to critical acclaim at the time, a recent reissue held testament to how the album acted to rewrite many peoples perception of just what drum 'n' bass was and the sheer potential in terms of what it could be. An acrimonious split with his business partner at the Juicebox imprint and a subsequent relocation to New York further delayed the release of this follow up. However, 'Essence' proves a worthwhile wait, from the opening physics of 'Universe' to the closing seconds, the album is brimming with confidence. While Gerald's production continues to juxtapose drum 'n' bass programming with rough and ready instrumentation, the addition of vocals provides an extra dimension lacking in his previous work. Check 'Humanity' for a heart stopping performance from Lamb's Louise Rhodes, or Wendy Page who features heavily smouldering in 'Glow' and lends a schizophrenic energy, matched beat for beat by the production, within 'Landed'.

9 [out of 10]

[Reviewer: KM]

A Guy Called Gerald Unofficial Web Page - Album Review: Essence Tiger Sushi
August 2000
A Guy Called Gerald
Studio !K7

GENRE Breakbeat / Drum&Bass
YEAR 2000

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

UK's most versatile producer, A Guy Called Gerald, is back with this Essence LP, a combination of new tracks and older hard-to-find material. Gerald's intention is to "vitalize the stale nature of Drum&bass" partly due to darker than dark productions coaxing most drum & bass aficionados into the friendlier "two-step garage" scene. So does Gerald's crusade to win back the audience's attention work ? Well, at first listen, "Essence" is a bit misleading : it sounds like you have stepped into a time-warp, only to find yourself back in 1995, in the heydays of "Intelligent" Jungle. Nevertheless this does not imply that "Essence" is too common to be noticed. Gerald has decided to use familiar sounds, luring listeners into a false sense of tranquillity so they become hooked to his catchy pop reinvention.

[Reviewer: Unknown]

A Guy Called Gerald Unofficial Web Page - Album Review: Essence Pitchfork Media
August 2000
A Guy Called Gerald
Rating: 5.6
A Guy Called Gerald Unofficial Web Page - Album Review: Essence

No one could seriously deny Gerald Simpson's contribution to electronic music. As a member of 808 State, he masterminded the first credible British responses to the techno being imported from Detroit. Newbuild, 808 State's debut, created the kind of catch-up energy that few albums have ever generated. I would even argue that it's dance music's Nevermind: it defined a whole new musical landscape and depicted, in huge sweeps, an entirely fresh mode of expression. The Roland 808, the TB303, and the other rudimentary machines and devices used to create Newbuild have all become fetish items of late, and were it not for Simpson's departure, 808 State would have become the pioneering electronic act without equal.

But he did leave, and has done pretty well for himself since. He wrote the warehouse anthem "Voodoo Ray" before realizing that the voodoo within the tune was blighting him. He turned his attention away from thrashing Derrick May at his own game and took to the polyrhythmic expanses of jungle. Released on his own Juicebox label, 28 Gun Bad Boy and Black Science Technology prove that when focused, Simpson is capable of disciplined soulful electronic masterworks.

Essence, however, showcases his distracted, settle-for-almost-anyone self-- the one that gets record companies interested and involved. The last time he let a company control him, they refused to release the album (High Life Low Profile, nixed by Sony). Before that, the company had messed around with Automannik and left a meager husk of a reportedly vee vee special record. Studio !K7 release Essence probably with a heap of reverence in their hearts, and that's why they can't tell him that Lady Miss Kier doesn't belong on a cigar-lounge trip-hop album that criminally disguises its avant-jungle artistry. They apparently also can't bring themselves to tell Simpson that Essence actually deserves rejection.

Geffen once sued Neil Young for producing un-Neil Young albums. And while I appreciate that artists must have the freedom in which to break down boundaries and public perceptions, I do feel that record companies should tell revered and honoured artists when they're producing sub-standard stuff. And infuriatingly sub-standard Essence is.

The dead giveaway is the opener, "The Universe," an awkwardly delivered spoken word piece about the universe within our bodies and the spirituality that we house in the micro-universes of our atomic make-up. This undisciplined, unsubstantiated new age clap-trap would be far more at home in the coffeehouses of UC Berkeley than they are on Essence. "Could You Understand" strives for the emotional power of "Finley's Rainbow," Black Science Technology's crucial reworking of Finley Quaye's version of Bob Marley's "Sun is Shining," which also borrows from Jacob Miller's multiply versioned "Baby, I Love You So." Lamb's Louise Rhodes, potentially the most compatible collaborator, gives a sterling performance of the psychobabble "Humanity," which is as galling a session of fatuous ego-stroking self-actualization as anyone might hear outside of an anger-management seminar conducted by a lapsed and self-loathing cleric.

Sad to relate, there are plenty more lyrics gleaned from Borders' Self-Improvement Section. On "Universal Spirit," Wendy Page trills, "Universal spirit elevates your soul/ When your heart perceives it/ Love is in control/ Dive into the ocean/ Energize your love." At least when former Deee-Liter Lady Miss Kier steps up to the mic, she's downright strange: "Something's really happening/ Smoking sassafras/ Grass is on her arse/ Wearing out her slippers." No one can withhold the Adam Ant Award for Utter Whibble from Lady Miss Kier for such baffling cobblers!

Throughout Essence, Simpson valiantly attempts to compensate for his vocalists' inadequacies. The music he sets their Aquarius-Age warblings to is invariably some of the most sincere and artful that a drum-n-bass producer has ever committed to hard disk. Even the Bukem-ish "First Breath" remains unimpeachable due to the accurate and faultless position of each beat and sub-bass boom. "Humanity," lyrics aside, initially shuffles in a samba before Simpson's heavily echoed toms prepare us for the subtle rush of his processed breakbeats.

"Final Call" revisits rave's undeniable glories - from the Cabaret Voltaire basslines to the Pet Shop Boys orchestral stabs, and the jack track hand claps and rimshots. The track is unashamedly nostalgic, but since Simpson pretty much invented the style, it'd be churlish to reprimand him for it. If "Fever or a Flame" were versioned (sans Wendy Page), it would doubtless reside in junglist DJs boxes for months; cleansed of insipid vocals, the track would be an unstoppable peaktime roller.

What makes Essence such a gadfly is that, had Mono or Hooverphonic released it, I'd have been thrilled that they'd escaped from the Serge Gainsbourg-sampling, goatee-stroking gulag they wandered into quite voluntarily. But as Black Science Technology unquestionably proved, a Guy Called Gerald is matchless in his ability to create faultless techno soul.

Essence mocks its creator's reputation. I can hear elements of an outstanding, possibly even genre-opening album amongst the jumble of guest vocals and conventional verse/chorus/verse structures. It's as though Simpson needs more than to create another soulful masterpiece of machine music; he needs the fleeting pleasure of being a one-hit wonder. If Simpson is mad keen on collaborating, why not hook up with Me'Shell NdegéOcello, an artist who would be equally soulful and more than capable of understanding and complimenting his exemplary machine-soul aesthetic. Until then, we must either use a mental filter to erase the inanities, or return Black Science Technology to the disc tray and wait for another five years to pass before Simpson releases another comeback.

[Reviewer: Paul Cooper]

(Note: It's "Black SECRET Technology", Paul, NOT "Black SCIENCE Technology") :-p

A Guy Called Gerald Unofficial Web Page - Album Review: Essence Groove
Number 65
August 2000
Page: 78
A Guy Called Gerald

Wer eine längere Autofahrt in den Urlaub oder in ein schrilles Paralelluniversum geplant hat oder einfach nur gerne Gänsehauttreibende, neomystizistische Sonnenaufgänge über Autobahnbrücken betrachtet, sollte unbedingt diesen Soundtrack hier einpacken. A Guy Called Gerald beweist auf "Essence" mit geradezu beängstigender Lockerheit und Natürlichkeit wieviel Seele und Soul Drum'n'Bass, oder besser gesagt Breakbeat verträgt. So konnte er offenbar mühelos einige der smartesten Feen und Magier der Sangeskunst für dieses Album gewinnen. Jennifer Neal, Louise Rhodes, Wendy Page, seinen Bruder David Simpson und sogar Lady Kier (Deee-lite) halten sich beim Singen mit ihrer jeweilig eigenen Magie nämlich keinesfalls zurück. Mein Lieblingstrack auf diesem Album "Hurry To Go Easy" (Eine einmal hauchende und dann wieder zickig-funky modulierende Lady Kier setzt souverän der Energie der Breaks locker einen oder zwei drauf) oder "Landed" vermitteln mir eine für immer und ewig eingebrannte Erinnerung an die Zukunft. Die ultrasmoothen Songs auf diesem Album, die einem ständig das Gefühl vermitteln, die Zeit sogenannter "Tracks" hätte es nie gegeben, ergeben im Zusammenhang ein sehr großes, lebensrettendes Album. Und das trotz des nicht ganz verständlichen Drangs in jedem Track extrem oldschoolige Breaks zum Einsatz zu bringen. Trotzdem oder gerade deshalb ein Universum voller Hits. Pure Magie, das Gefühl eine vertraute Stimme zu hören und ein Lehrstuhl für Songaufbau und Dramatik, alles eingebrannt auf einer kleinen Silberscheibe. Kein einziger Track ist Scheiße. Sowas! Ich ziehe lächelnd meinen Hut und verneige mich. Rewind ad infinitum.

[Reviewer: RF]

A Guy Called Gerald Unofficial Web Page - Album Review: Essence CMJ New Music Monthly
Issue 84
August 2000
Page: ??
<To be entered>

[Reviewer: Unknown]

A Guy Called Gerald Unofficial Web Page - Album Review: Essence Activ Musikmagazin
August 2000
Page: 19
A Guy Called Gerald
Aktuelle CD 'Essence' (Studio K7 / Zomba)

Drum'n'Bass im Songformat

Gerald Simpson aus Manchester ist seit den Achtzigern als Musiker aktiv. Er hat die Trends von Techno bis Acid House kommen und gehen gesehen und sich selbst nie einer Mode angeschlossen, sondern versucht, eine ganz eigene Musiksprache zu entwickeln. Auf 'Essence', seiner neuen Veröffentlichung, nutzt er Drum'n'Bass, um daraus mit Hilfe von Gastsängerinnen lupenreine Popmusik zu machen. "Ich mag es nicht", sagt Gerald, "wenn Drum'n'Bass völlig vom verschachtelten Beat bestimmt ist. Ich finde es schöner, wenn der Beat gar nicht auffällt, sondern sich in die Musik einfügt. Mein Album ist daher sehr smooth geworden, sehr organisch." Unter Mitarbeit von Jennifer Neal, Louise Rho-des und Wendy Page vermischt sich hier zeitgemäßer Dancefloor mit Elementen aus Pop, Gospel und Soul. "Ich habe immer schon Sachen wie Marvin Gaye geliebt", sagt Gerald, "deshalb ist es mein Ideal, wenn gute Tanzmusik und Songs mit Soul-Charakter zusammenkommen." Gerald, der bereits mit Größen wie Bowie, Tricky und Herbie Hancock zusammengearbeitet hat, legt mit 'Essence' ein äußerst entspanntes Album vor, bei dem er selbst bewusst in den Hintergrund tritt. "Ich habe die Nummern zwar erarbeitet, doch ohne die ganzen Gastbeiträge wären sie gar nichts! Das gute Miteinander im Studio wird hier hörbar. Und genau das soll auch die Botschaft sein: 'Essence' ist ein Loblied auf die Kommunikation, auf das Miteinander zwischen den Menschen. Mir ist das wichtig, weil viele ja glauben, elektronische Musik sei das Ergebnis von Bastlern und Einzelkämpfern."

[Reviewer: Unknown]

A Guy Called Gerald Unofficial Web Page - Album Review: Essence Melody Maker
26th July 2000
Page: ??

A legend of the drum'n'bass underground taking his studio pliers to the jaws of garage and r'n'b might not sound very exciting, but "Essence" is brilliantly edgy, dark stuff.

**** (4/5)

[Reviewer: Unknown]

A Guy Called Gerald Unofficial Web Page - Album Review: Essence Yahoo Music
12th July 2000
A Guy Called Gerald Unofficial Web Page - Album Review: Essence

Seminal jungle player Gerald Simpson released his heavyweight treatise on the genre, Black Secret Technology, back in 1995, when drum 'n' bass was in its prime. Five years on, and Gerald (and his music) have mellowed. While many claim drum 'n' bass is dead, Essence transforms the largely adolescent and aggressive music into song 'n' bass arrangements that are soulful and sensuous. With guest vocals by Lamb's Louise Rhodes, Deelite's Lady Miss Kier, and Welsh singer-songwriter Wendy Page, Essence is the album Roni Size's Breakbeat Era hoped to be, a song-based, drum 'n' bass epic that works on many levels.

Sure, Essence is rife with ricocheting rhythms and interstellar synth sounds, but on "Fever (Or A Flame)," "Humanity," "Final Call," "Glow," and "Universal Spirit," Gerald upends cliche and confounds those who say drum 'n' bass is only mad dance music. Soul 'n' bass is Simpson's new style, and it wouldn't sound out of place on Soul Train, circa 2005.

Elsewhere, the songs - or, rather, the mood-tracks - growl, glow, and expand like some Venusian fog. They're all enigmatic tones and mysterious auras, as if Gerald was inspired by some occult teaching, or perhaps an underground comic book series.

Unfortunately, with drum 'n' bass's current lack of cache, Essence may not get the hearing it deserves. In another five years, the talented Mr. Simpson will have moved on, and possibly, beyond. Time, is of the Essence.

[Reviewer: Ken Micallef]