by Guy Gelem

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On the new full length LP 'Tides', Guy Gelem crafts a deeply personal and patient soundworld. With a minimal use of processing, these uniquely human works of cello & guitar swell and contract, delivering the emotional and poetic language of the composer. Gorgeous bell-like guitar tones weave in and out of lush cello lines, all fastened together by a thread of light electronics. On Tides, Gelem sculpts beautifully original sonic terrains, inviting the listener into his peaceful and inventive world with genuine feelings of contemplation.

Guy Gelem is an Israeli composer residing in the Czech Republic. Gelem creates experimental electroacoustic music primarily using guitar, cello and laptop. Adopting a minimalist approach to his work, Gelem composes for theatre, dance and other projects inspired by observing the natural process of everyday life.

While living in London, Guy released his debut album 'Works' on Split Femur Recordings. He followed up his debut with the EPs 'Lines' [2008] and 'Pace' [2009] on Summer Rain Recordings. His latest EP was 'Slow Forms' [2010] released on Rural Colours.


The Steinberg Principle

Tides. I love the name of this record. And I love how each of the 6 tracks is titled as such; ‘first tide’, ‘second tide’ and so on. This in itself is a lovely idea. It’s lovely because as you work your way through each of these tracks you drift off into a world where each new track actually evokes the thoughts of the coming of a new tide. As one ends, another begins and the circle continues. It is this rising and falling within the record which engages the listener immediately and maintains your focus throughout.

Put simply, this is a beautiful record. Yet again Quiet Design has unearthed a gem of an artist in Guy Gelem. As a label boss myself, I am pretty envious of the artists they have on their roster. Every single record Cory Allen has sent me to date I have loved, and this is no different.

There is a simple beauty about Guy Gelem’s work. There is a formula for sure. Electric guitar and strings. The guitar often simple and repetitive. The strings mournful and beautiful all at once. It is a constant approach on all 6 tracks but that’s not to say that the record is in any way too similar. The music soothes and calms but is never boring. There is a wonderful sense of motion to the record. As if you’re riding on waves. It’s hard to pinpoint why it feels like this but the layering of instruments with repetitive fragments drifting in and out certainly contributes greatly to the over all feel of the record. The movement is never rushed, it’s all beautifully controlled. Reminiscent of the gentle crash of waves on the shore. Tides come and go and the music on offer evokes this idea perfectly. Not every tide is the same. But every tide has its place. The overall effect is a piece of music that everyone should own. Just beautiful.
Fluid Radio, Brendan Moore

Guy Gelem’s “Tides” is the latest for the Quiet Design label. Gelem’s work is primarily a blend of guitar and cello with gentle electronics interspersed. And while his work has its roots in post-rock in many ways, it also relies on a combination of slow evolutions and a seeming repetitiveness more often associated with drone. “Tides” has to win the award for most apropos album title so far this year as the album relies on a wave-like rising and falling of musical movements. Comprised of five songs, fittingly titled simply as “First Tide” through “Fifth Tide”, the album has a devotion to a singular idea/approach that Gelem realises deftly.

You feel this album before you hear it: Gelem opens things with a low bass throb that begins as a low hum in your inner ear. Then gentle guitar harmonics join in, followed by cello. Throughout the album, instruments join in by twos or threes and then one or two will drop out momentarily only to return a few bars later. Individual instruments are often playing very repetitive lines or phrases; so any sense of motion in the songs is the result of the way the instruments are layered and stripped away. The music genuinely feels like it is coming at you in waves: at first gentle, then building momentum, receding, and then repeating the whole process again. This is how Gelem creates the audio equivalent of tides. But this approach also frees up the artist to suddenly introduce a new melody over the top of an existing one, sometimes creating a moody, almost ominous, sense to some of the pieces. This ability to suddenly shift tone lends a palpable tension to the music in places.

“Third Tide” opens with some lovely guitar work. This tone, at once both bright and dry, is used throughout the album. No doubt a strategic choice for this particular album, that guitar tone is emblematic of the sensation of stillness within movement that permeates throughout the album. No matter the instrument, musical phrases never linger or ring out, creating the feeling that each phrase is a kind of closed loop. As far as the arrangements go, individual instruments will often stand apart from one another and then a new element is introduced and suddenly it all blends seamlessly. It creates that rising and falling sensation that emulates the movement of a wave. Again, the title of “Tides” is most fitting: it takes a series of low tides pushing concurrently to create a high tide. So, each instrument is like the low tide pushing forward, and these moments of synergy in the album are sort of like a resulting cumulative force that happens every so often.

“Fifth Tide” relies on that hyper fast yet slow due to use of delay and reverb style of guitar playing that post rock musicians often use to create a sort of spacey quality in their music. Gelem pairs this off with muted but aggressive cello strikes. The cello almost serves as a threatening undercurrent. It’s a fitting end, as if the listener is being eased out of the album.

“Tides” is a pleasant surprise. Gelem came up with an approach for these songs and managed to create an engaging and focused album. At times the project does come across as a little austere because of its devotion to crafting this singular approach. Regardless, Guy Gelem has delivered a finely crafted album of such depth and focus that any qualms are minor. Quiet Design has been on a roll of late, and Gelem has most certainly kept the ball rolling.


released May 10, 2011

Music composed,recorded and mixed by Guy Gelem.Mastered by Cory Allen



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