Breakthrough, William Bensussen's first album as the Gaslamp Killer, provides more of the left-field beat psychedelia he offered through his 2009-2010 Brainfeeder EPs, his production work on Gonjasufi's A Sufi and a Killer, and all of his other collaborative work dating back to 2006's "Cadillac Steeze" (recorded with Blu under the name Bobby Johnson). Whipping through these mostly brief tracks, whether in order or at random, one gets the sense that Bensussen is everlastingly scatterbrained with a voracious musical appetite, regardless of origin, from east to west, whether it came from a Turkish opium den or a Midwestern U.S. garage. He takes the trip with several past and new recording partners. The psych-folk freak-out "Apparitions," featuring Gonjasufi, sways drunkenly with random organ filigrees. "Dead Vets," made with Adrian Younge, is nightmarish funk with a gnashing beat, somewhere between an amateur David Axelrod cover band and early Funkadelic. The likes of Shigeto, Samiyam, and Daedelus also assist, but the most fruitful collaboration comes from Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, whose suspenseful strings and Wurlitzer work on "Flange Face" is magnetic and petrifying. Breakthrough splatters so many short ideas across its 47 minutes that a front-to-back listen is wearying, like hearing a dozen erratic interludes mixed in with a handful of lengthier sketches that are no more settled. Better to dip in and out, and approach it like a trio of EPs thrown into a shuffled playlist.
Andy Kellman, Rovi