British producer Gemini is back and bringing the latest version of his UKF sound to new EP Mercury, released under his own label, Inspected Records. While the 22-year-old’s fifth EP proved a solid release, it is a decided departure from thedubstep roots found in 2011’s debut EP Blue,and opts instead for a more electro approach.
Yet from the dance-hall approved “Freedom” to the Zane Lowe-declared Hottest Record “3D Romeo” to the old-school hip-hop beats of “Losing My Way,” Mercury is the latest in a string of electronic releases that refuse to fit nicely into one genre. Following the lead of such players as Deadmau5 and Kill The Noise, Gemini seems to be flexing his production muscles and proving there is more to his skill set than well-timed wobbles.
The EP kicks off with the pulsing electro beat and vocal hook of “Robots.” With its drum-roll builds, catchy lyrics and fist-pumpable boom chicks, the track is reminiscent of a synthed out Hardwell or electrified KE$HA and has club potential all over it. In true Gemini style, a piano/harp-based breakdown that bleeds into an epic build is one of the track’s more powerful moments, and tight production carries through the outro and into the following track.
“3D Romeo” picks up where “Robots” left off, and vocalist Fabienne takes no prisoners in her high-energy digital love anthem.With cascading synth tones layered between building chords, a solid bass line and infectious vocals, “3D Romeo” is hard to define but harder to resist. Definitely a standout on the EP, the track ventures in a previously uncharted direction we’re more than happy to follow.
The EP’s true masterpiece, however, is “Freedom,” a track that already has crowds buzzing. The song’s almost vibrating bouncy staccato intro gives way to a powerful crescendoing build complete with clap tones and a classic finger drum-ready climax. The drop will have heads nodding to the playful pews preferred by younger generation DJs while an orchestral-sounding bit puts Gemini in a league of his own.
The change in tone for “Freedom’s” outro prepares for the markedly darker “Losing My Way,” but only in terms of key. The slow-paced track features a simple repeating chord progression layered over a hip-hop drum-based bass line, and by the time the minute-long intro is over the song is already half over. Most similar to Gemini’s almost macabre remix of Lana Del Rey’s “Born to Die,” the track feels a bit out of place on the build-happy EP but indicates Gemini’s production range.
“Second Law” closes out the album and again brings the club feel with a plucky synthesizer intro, sway-inducing vocals and the same machine-gun build as found on “Freedom.” The track never delivers a truly hard drop however, and leaves the listener in a constant state of not-unpleasant anticipation. Definitely a producer’s track, “Second Law” has traces of Wolfgang Gartner and Porter Robinson and leaves us with a taste of Gemini’s ever-evolving sound technique.
With more builds than drops, Mercury marks a change in pace for Gemini, but a welcome one at that. Gemini’s live crowds will have the final say on the new sound, as a North American tour in support of Mercury kicked off November 15 in San Diego and will venture into Canada before concluding at the UKF Launch Party at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom on December 1.