Guy Gerber & Puff Daddy-11 11 (Album Review)

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This album is good. Really good. Guy Gerber and Puff Daddy, aka Diddy, have collaborated on this unique and exciting project, titled 11 11, released via Rumors record label. Guy Gerber is an Israeli-born house/techno DJ/producer, famous for his constant world touring and his Rumors label. Diddy is P. Diddy, Puff Daddy, Puffy aka Sean Combs. Originally known for founding Bad Boy Records, the label that signed The Notorious B.I.G., Diddy is now more known for his acting and business ventures. When I saw that these guys were releasing an album together, I was very intrigued, but admittedly confused. Guy Gerber is working with who?? But, here we are, over three months later, and I finally have found the time to fully dive into this collaboration.

1. Never Walk Alone

The first track starts with a upbeat, unique combination of an electric bass and shakers, toms and hi-hats, all sounding very Middle Eastern, invoking images of a scorching hot desert, the sun beating down on the golden sand. Guy utilizes beautiful, layered synths, integrating both them and Diddy’s reverberated, echoing, ghost-like vocals to create a chilling opening track. It is undoubtedly Guy Gerber, with at most, a splash of Diddy, but that maybe makes me like it even more.

2. Angels (feat. Chaim)

This very funky track reminds me of Daft Punk.  There are 80’s synths that make me envision squiggly lines moving all around, and a simple but effective kick and percussion beat that suits the synths perfectly. Vocals are provided by both Diddy and Chaim, who makes a special appearance on the track. The vocals work well, playing off the very trippy, vibrating synths that seem to be floating in every direction. Guy Gerber is a musical master, and if you listen carefully to this, or any track on this album, you will undoubtedly come to the same conclusion. Again, if you are listening and paying attention, this track will entertain you. There are so many different layers, all intertwining in a perfect way.

3. Floating Messiah

This is an early frontrunner for my favorite track on the album. What seems to be a reoccurring theme is Diddy providing vocals, usually in the form of short statements such as “You’re my everything,” “I don’t want nobody else,” and “You’re all I need.” The vocals take a backseat to the instrumentals, provided by Gerber, of course. There is a real nice, solid, heavy bass propelling this track, sometimes in the background, sometimes loud and in your face, but always pushing the beat. This mixes with a deep house style kick drum, shakers, claps and a bright but fading synth. There are so many elements in this 10 minute piece, and Gerber weaves them together beautifully. It’s really quite a masterpiece, and if you listen with good headphones, you will quickly find yourself floating to a new place.

4. Terminal K

This track blends seamlessly with the previous, a technique I see often used by Deadmau5. Sounding very techno, this track reminds me of a Guy Gerber Cocoon Records release. Guy has a heavy techno beat, sometimes glitched up, combining with Arabian synths, slowly reverberating through my headphones, bringing to mind the very clear image of a snake being coaxed, from a barrel, by a man with a flute. Overall, this track seems to be almost entirely Guy Gerber, with Diddy’s influence being reserved for, as usual, a few very short, vocal statements, but that’s okay, because Guy is a musical wizard and this song is proof.

5. Broken Windows

This one reminds me of a techno track that’s been crossed with both the 80s and a jungle. The heavy kick drums all have an African influence, sounding almost tom-tom like. The synths come in slowly, but from all directions, conjuring images of an American nightclub in the 80’s, fog machines filling a crowded dancefloor with smoke, while people dance the night away. Diddy’s vocals play a bigger role in this track, with him rhythmically chanting “I’ve got to go…go…go.” Gerber utilizes the vocals well, mixing in this really catchy, shaker filled, synth laden breakdown that distinctly reminds me of walking through the jungle.

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6. I Hear Her Calling Me

This is the first track on 11 11 that I did not particularly care for. It is a slow, melodic, drawn out piece, with female vocals playing off of almost string-like synths, layered perfectly, the only way Guy Gerber knows how. The track isn’t terrible, it just wasn’t my favorite. For all of the musical talent on display in this collaboration, I found this track to just be a letdown. But, no matter, we continue on!

7. Tourist Trap

This track had originally leaked much earlier than the album release, giving excited fans a taste of what to come. It’s hard to define this track, but my best attempt would be to describe it as a minimal track with techno and hip hope influences. Best listened to on quality speakers/headphones, the low frequencies really shine through on this one. The instrumentals bumps oh so good on my headphones, distracting me from the rather annoying vocals being intermittently thrown in. As a fan of music, I love this track. It’s unique, innovative, and complex, requiring more than one listen to fully digest. On the other hand, I find myself annoyed by the vocals, and hopelessly searching google for an instrumental version.

8. Indian Summer

Indian Summer starts very upbeat, a standard 4 on the floor kick drum, repeating hi-hats and a cool snapping sound coming from far off in the distance. Bright, beautiful synths start to work themselves into the beat, seamlessly integrating before I, the listener, even knows what has happened. This is a long, nine-and-a-half minute long piece, and Guy skillfully works in a slow, but edgy breakdown. Around the 4:30 min, the instruments start to drop off one by one, leaving an electric synth, shakers, and hi-hats. Slowly, chanting vocals come into play, eventually all culminating in an amazing drop, perfect for any outdoor party, to be played when the sun is setting. It’s just beautiful.

9. Let Go

This one throws you right into it, with a really heavy kick, Diddy vocals chanting “Lets Go,” and videogame sounds, imagine Nintendo 64 sounds, working their way into the mix. The track begins to pick up, synths start to create a little chaos, and the Diddy vocals continue chanting. This track most reminds me of driving fast on a highway at night, the highway is crowded but not too crowded. Zipping from lane to lane, other cars serving as mere flashes of light, quickly disappearing in the rearview mirror. Eventually we are lead to what, if I’m not mistaken, is Diddy soulfully singing. I respect Diddy, but this singing just didn’t work for me. I loved the instrumental, another example of Mr. Guy Gerber’s endless brilliance, but Puff Daddy himself just seemed to be a little lost. Maybe he should of asked for directions. The drop at 4:40 is absolute money, though.

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10. Lifted

Immediately you can tell this track is going to be different than the rest. The beat is propelled not by a four on the floor kick, but a more stutter step kick pattern, heavy and pulsing, as if providing a heartbeat for the track. The instrumentals are fire, with the acid-like bass bouncing and bouncing, creating endless grooves on the dancefloor. Unfortunately, as has become a major theme, the vocals seem out of place. They just seemed forced, I guess. Or maybe forced is the wrong word. Maybe the instrumentals are just so good, any vocals will end up doing more harm than good, and in this case they just happen to be Diddy’s. I still really dig this track though, and will continue to bump it, vocals and all.

11. My Heart

We’ve made it to number eleven at last. This is a much more spacey, airy track than any other on this album. The signature Guy Gerber jungle sound is very present, soulfully coercing the listener, putting the listener in a trance. Again, with good headphones/speakers, this track can take you on a journey. It is pure love, with a combination of instruments so beautiful it could make someone cry. My only complaint is, you guessed it, the vocals. I feel as though I’m in the middle of a dream, with Guy Gerber acting as conductor, and then harsh vocals come in out of nowhere. I find it to be quite jarring, and I can’t help but wonder how Guy felt during the recording process. Regardless of how he felt, for the most part, this track is a really great ending to what is, overall, a very quality album.

 

Overall, the work done by Guy Gerber on this project is outstanding. I was already a huge fan of Guy for his DJing ability, now I am completely sold on his ability as a producer. For Diddy, I think it was an interesting collaboration attempt, and one that I am ultimately grateful for. That being said, I think it might be best to take a break from the recording studio, and leave the next one solely up to Guy. Still, this is a really unique, entertaining, and well-produced techno fusion album, and I will recommend it highly to anyone who asks.

 

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