The Gibraltarians - Frequency Bias

Released: May 24

On his first release of 2024,  The Gibraltarians (Patrick Hogan) takes his lo-fi electronic stylings into territory that touches on bits of house while staying firmly in the wheelhouse of downtempo electronica. Each track does something different but there's this interesting common thread throughout all of them that is hard to describe, but I would say it sounds a bit like a layer of harsh haziness that soaks into every element, specifically in the drums. Most of the first few tracks feel quite busy in terms of their layered sounds. "Amber" is particularly good at this with a persistent rhythm and a strange vocal that jumps in an out, alternating with an especially bright arpeggio. For this track, it's the vocal that hooks me, as its just on the other side of intelligible but it has this unique processing to it that is hard to shake - it glitches, distorts, and generally feels kind of smashed about.

The next four tracks keep this same energy up until "Navigator" comes up. While its definitely not anything ambient or particularly slow, there is a definite shift in energy with this one. The synths are longer and less restricted by the beats, which are much more sparse here and have that early PSX era breaks vibe that works well with the other elements. I honestly feel like this could be a track on on of those more obscure racing games of the era, despite it feeling a bit slower. But the shift continues on for much of the rest of the album, giving a pretty natural downward feeling all the way through the end in which we get the one and only (what I would consider) ambient track on the album with "Reclaimed." The gentle sounds of natural field recordings blend in with a slowly plucked guitar and long pads to fully slow things down until the last little burst of energy in the final track. 

Overall, it is a varied and engaging album. But as I said earlier, there's a certain twang to every track here that I can't quite put my finger on. It's certainly not bad, but it has both a modern and slightly vintage quality to it, like it has been run through a very particular bit of gear that has imbued it with an idiosyncratic quality. To me, it's one of the most intriguing things about the album, the one that made me come back for multiple listens. 


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