There’s a new wind blowing through the contemporary avant-garde questioning club and rave culture at its core. It’s somewhat of a paradox: in the year where polyrhythmic ‘deconstruction’ and ‘post-genreism’ was all too happily replaced by an overly nostalgic indulgence in early 00s hard-dance genres, many memes told a different story. 2k19’s strong collective need for self-love and -care, spiritual healing and a deep dissatisfaction with the club’s drug-fuelled escapism collided with a music taste that seems to glorify an era steeped in self-destruction. A double-edged kind of nostalgia that allows us to look at and compassionately talk to our wounded, lost and confused younger selves from a more mature distance, while simultaneously experiencing moments of reliving their reality again, if only just for an instant. No artist embodies this tension more viscerally than Giek_1.
‘Twisted Transcendence’ is the first release of her autobiographical Spiritual Ecology trilogy, that connects the global ecological crisis and exponential economic insatiability to the personal spiritual crisis of drug addiction. As within so without. Reminiscent of other works that came out this year that reframe the majestic ferocity of hardcore’s heyday sound into something more introspective – Know V.A.’s ‘Strange Days’ in particular – Giek_1 navigates the fine line between an honest admiration of the enchanting power of rave music, and a more critical, dismantling attitude towards its too often unquestioned promise of freedom, togetherness and revolution.
After the choral abstract grime ouverture ‘Ascending’, that premiered on Insert recently, the throat-grippingly intense traumatic self-portrait ‘Suffocating On My High’ (one of my personal favourite tracks of all time), and the eerily relatable restless rave-bubbling of ‘Horrormonal Pt2’, the EP gradually shakes off its own melancholy. ‘Longing’ marks the turnaround, where an angelic layered choir of Giek’s own voice, in harmony with an uplifting trance arp, pierces through the rumbling of industrial darkness as a moment of revelation. It is the point where the soul’s individual longing for healing from destruction fuses with the outcry of the earth, powerfully visualised by Don Elektro in a cataclysmic collage video.
Following the psychedelic tenderness of ‘Hit of Your Heart’, that repurposes the sensibility of a homely afterhours cannabis high for a moment of wholehearted intimacy with the listener, Twisted Transcendence concludes with a celebration of rediscovered strength. ‘Release Me’ powerfully subverts the signature euphoria of 90s melodic rave music, that has become almost synonymous with the feeling of a first XTC glow, to overcome the deceptive spell of club culture as a whole. Drugs are dead, long live Giek_1.