Josiah Gabriel Mixes Things Up On New EP
Josiah Gabriel. Photo: Jay Tovar
Houston’s electronica scene has really begun to heat up in the last couple of years. Our city has always produced a healthy roster of electronic acts, but few have had the intensity of someone like producer, Josiah Gabriel. His live sets are always a little insane, a little crazed, and always turnt up like he’s shooting for the room to melt. Sets at Day For Night last year alongside sets at FPSF have been just a part of his routine, while his pop up sets have always been imaginative while setting him far from the herd. After what has seemed like too long, he’s returned with a new release, EP $. He takes a more dance-music approach than his usual crazed fare, while adding elements that you won’t hear anywhere else that ultimately craft four tracks that you can’t keep from getting down to.
Things open up with the most dance heavy tune of the four, “Breckon.” Right out of the gate, the beat hooks you enough to bop your head and move your feet. The synth and sound clusters he incorporates are from somewhere else, while he boosts the EQ levels to give those sounds a completely new feel and pop, that could only be compared to things within the PC music genre. While the beat keeps popping along, various sounds and synths hop on and off the track that sound like at any moment things could go off of the rails. He keeps things on the intense side while keeping the beat going and making things his own trippy and bizarre sound that works from start to finish. Following it up is the more ambient sound of “Too Good.” Gabriel is definitely showing off a depth here since while things get going on the more leisurely side, he quickly starts adding elements you won’t see coming while you can’t help but want to get down. The use of vocal samples and multiple synth clusters and beat structures mix things up before the track takes a different direction without deterring your attention.
On the third track, “T.D.S.,” the producer brings back the intensity and hook heavy vibes of the EP’s opening track. Gabriel makes you quickly realize that his version of dance music takes every element of house and everyday EDM and turns it on its head. The synthetic beats, the multiple sounds that sound like a computer in disrepair, and the beats that jump in for brief moments at a time put him on a whole new level. The track is essentially dance music that incorporates everything from witch house to techno without sounding like either. Things are closed off by the melodiousness and unconventional sounds of “Timing.” There are moments where it sounds like a patch coming from modular synths mixed with modern day electronica and vocal samples that you can’t help but find yourself engaged by it. The synths sound like they’re coming from the chiptune world and a simple beat wouldn’t work on any other release, but they work together here like they belong more than they would anywhere else.
The entire release clocks in just a hair over sixteen minutes, leaving you waiting for more. Gabriel’s use of multiple sub-genres and various sounds that seem to come from all over the electronic landscape just prove that he’s onto something different from everyone else without losing the ability to make you want to get your groove on. In four tracks, Josiah Gabriel keeps the Houston electronic scene ahead of most places, while he mixes his usual crazed sound and takes a more dance-centric approach, that could have only come from a producer like him.