A Guy Called Gerald’s sublime underground classic Black Secret Technology is once again on the shelves and remastered 13 years after it’s original release.
1995′s BLACK SECRET TECHNOLOGY, a bewildering mix of tight breakbeats, techno textures, and flickering, dream-struck voices, has been often imitated but never equaled. Gerald credits much of his work to serendipity, but that doesn’t explain the staggering cybernetic wallop packed by “Alita’s Dream” and “Survival,” or the supreme sensuality of “The Nile.” The album is woven through with perfect techno-pop bridges, confronting the harsh realities of technology with the life-affirming spirituality of Gerald’s club-classic debut, HOT LEMONADE. Balanced on the razor edge between mysticism and frenzy, TECHNOLOGY remains a powerful comment on the eternal struggle between man and his future.
Pretty much a forerunner to the work produced by Photek, Goldie and the Metalheadz crew, amongst others, ‘Black Secret Technology’ is an underrated gem of an album… ‘Black Secret Technology’ is one of those albums which extends way beyond reality into an almost shamanic euphoric experience as if it recorded ‘itself’ in the studio and has taken on a life of its own ever since… growing wiser and never tiring on repeated listens.” – UNSUNG MAGAZINE
One of the first single-artist drum ‘n’ bass albums, BST expanded on Simpson’s idea that the sampler was a time machine by linking ancient African rhythms and more modern funk beats with futuristic breakbeat science to produce ‘trance-like rhythms [which] reflect my frustration to know the truth about my ancestors who talked with drums”.” – PETER SHAPIRO, THE ROUGH GUIDE TO DRUM ‘N’ BASS
Gerald’s gift is to invert melody, so that it takes on the off-kilter improvisational qualities of harmony, or emulates the patterings of rhythm, as on the ‘Gloc’ Remix. The result, combined with his hallmark multidirectional pattering drums is a sophisticated assault on the senses. Somewhere between the second and third hearing of this album, you’ll be hooked and you won’t quite know why. But then that is how ‘Black Secret Technology’ works.” – MIXMAG
“One of the first single-artist drum ‘n’ bass albums, BST expanded on Simpson’s idea that the sampler was a time machine by linking ancient African rhythms and more modern funk beats with futuristic breakbeat science to produce ‘trance-like thythms [which] reflect my frustration to know the truth about my ancestors who talked with drums”. “Energy”, co-produced with Goldie, sounded like Jamaican nyabinghi drummers jamming in an anti-gravity chamber, while its bird calls referenced “Pacific State’ which had since become a favourite sampling tool of the “intelligent’ drum ‘n’ bass brigade.” – PETER SHAPIRO, THE ROUGH GUIDE TO DRUM ‘N’ BASS
“The first full-length release in a style that, like its close relatives hip-hop and techno, began as a 12-inch genre. The album laid much important groundwork for experimental junglists like Photek, Subtropic, and Goldie.” — SEAN COOPER, ALL MUSIC GUIDE
“An Afro-centric view of a Europe to come? Perhaps. Good old-fashioned British hybrid inclinations and old school audaciousness? Definitely. Gerald has come up with the jungle that takes it from the loony experimentalism of the 12″ rough cuts you hear on pirates, and peers right into the next century.” – NME
“Black Secret Technology shines like gunmetal glinting in the cold, winter sunlight.” – MIKE PATTENDEN, VOX MAGAZINE
“Gerald’s music actually sounds like a virtual jungle, a datascape environment that’s sensorily intoxicating yet teeming with threat. Breakbeats coil and writhe like serpents, samples morph and dematerialise like fever-dream hallucinations, itchy’n'scratchy blips of texture/rhythm dart and hover like dragonflies. This could be heaven, this could be hell… Either way, this jungle is a terrain where the natives, the tech-savvy, have the advantage. It’s absolutely NOW, absolutely ESSENTIAL.” – SIMON REYNOLDS
“GERALD’S role in the development of drum n’ bass cannot be over stressed. But whereas early jungle experiments, like ’28 Gun Bad Boy’, were rough and ragga, ‘Black Secret Technology’ is dreamy, ethereal, other-worldly even. Gerald’s sound has taken flight, soared away from street-tough realism and now dwells in the fluffy, weightless clouds of the imagination…. Somewhere between the second and third hearing of this album, you’ll be hooked and you won’t quite know why. But then that is how ‘Black Secret Technology’ works.” – BETHAN COLE, MIXMAG
“So do you think people will lose interest in music?
“Yeah, sound will just become a small part of it. I can’t imagine a kid today just sitting down and listening to an album. It’s progression, innit?”
Feeling like a old fogey, I quibble: isn’t part of music’s magic the way it makes you come up with your own mind’s eye imagery? Gerald’s chirpy response is that with CD-ROM you’ll soon have the power to create your own graphics.
But, I counter feebly, who actually has the energy for all this inter-active self-expression?
“Not people who grew up in our era. But kids today, give them ten years, they’ll be on it.”
– SIMON REYNOLDS, MELODY MAKER 1995
“Was für ein Jahr. 1995 war Jungle gerade dabei mit Drum and Bass einen neuen, unverfänglicheren Namen zu bekommen und sich endgültig vom Ragga- und Soundsystem-Einfluss zu lösen, da erschienen gleich drei Alben, die allesamt zu Klassikern geworden sind. “Parallel Universe” von 4Hero, “Timeles” von Goldie und A Guy Called Geralds “Black Secret Technology”. Während Goldies Debüt-Album, auf dem auch Marc Mac und Dego von 4Hero mit dem ein oder anderen String-Arrangement ausgeholfen haben, zum kommerziellen Überflieger wurde und ob seiner polierten Eleganz und seinem perfekt inszenierten epischen Größenwahn alles andere überstrahlte, ist vor allem “Black Secret Technology” der dreckige Gegenentwurf zum blitzenden Future-Soul, den Goldie und sein Engineer Rob Playford aus ihren Maschinen zauberten. Auch hier stand Timestretching im Zentrum der Tracks, nur war alles rougher, kantiger und weniger gefällig. Die Detroit-Techno-Referenzen, die Chord-Wechsel und Strings-Arrangements, alles war da, nur klangen sie aggressiver, chaotischer und weniger einschmeichelnd. Interessanterweise arbeitete Goldie an einem der Album-Tracks von “Black Secret Technology” sogar mit. Das Album wurde übrigens vor nicht allzu langer Zeit wiederveröffentlicht. Ganz großes Tennis.” – DE:BUG (Germany)