Following a string of finely crafted Minus EPs (And Answer, Neural Block and Eye Contact), Jon Gaiser has become one of the most exciting and sought after producers of his generation. With an instinctive feel for the intricate mechanics of minimalist sound sculpture, his music contains the perfect balance between rhythmical energy and sonic finesse and nowhere is this more apparent than on his thunderous debut album Blank Fade.
Growing up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Gaiser spent most of his teenage weekends succumbing to the gravitational pull of Detroit, hanging out with friends and going to gigs. At that point he was into punk and playing drums in a few different bands but everything changed around the age of 14 when he experienced his first Techno party. Richie Hawtin was at the controls and Jon was completely blown away by the pure energy of the music and the originality of the sounds. From a musical perspective, everything was so new and fresh that he immediately set about figuring out how it was created. He quit the bands and began collecting drum machines, synths and fx units, before finally moving to Detroit after graduating from high school.
For the next few years, if he wasn’t at home patiently programming his machines and perfecting his studio skills, he could be found digging through crates of vinyl at Record Time in Detroit. Plus 8 had an office in the back of the building, so it wasn’t long before he got acquainted with Tim Price, Clark Warner and the rest of the crew and from this chance meeting he has developed into an integral part of the Minus family. It’s not hard to see why. His natural energy and rhythm are clearly responsible for the irresistible drum patterns that drive his productions forward but it’s also the subtleties - the delicate melodies and dramatic changes in atmosphere that give his sound such a distinctive edge. Music has always been in his blood, his early punk rock exploits counter-balanced by the more considered approach needed to learn piano and symphonic percussion and by drawing on these earlier experiences, he has avoided the genre’s more self-referential clichés.
Now living in Berlin, Gaiser was recently back where it all began for him all those years ago, mixing and matching his sounds with the rest of the Minus crew on the first leg of the Contakt global tour in Detroit. There’s clearly a certain symmetry at work here but more to the point it represents the culmination of three years of hard work and constant touring across Europe, the US and Japan. What always stands out about his performances is the ability to make an immediate connection with the audience, soaking up the vibe and playing according to their reactions. He’s a musician who lives off his instincts, channelling his moods and emotions directly into his computer, translating new experiences and sensations into sound. There simply is no other way.
Detroit, Michigan, United States