ill.gates – autopirate

Ill.Gates - Autopirate coverSome people call cleanliness the ultimate virtue. They probably didn’t have audio in mind on that statement, but if they had, Ill.Gates aka The Phat Conductor would be declared a saint after his 2008 release called Autopirate.


Combine electro-hop, glitch, dubstep and funky breaks with a real crisp production style and you’ve got the Ill.Gates sound spot on. Think Bassnectar, Datsik, Opiou and Mimosa, but super-mega-brilliant clean. It kinda sounds like a stretched new rubber band that has almost reached the snap-back point and is holding on for dear life. But whereas other artists in the genre (no idea how it’s called, anyone?) are often referred to as using the same trick over and over, Gates managed to keep “Autopirate” interesting ’till the last track.


All the standard ingredi├źnts are there though: nicely combined sharp drums and crisp filtered basslines to maintain the groove, simple one oscillator lead stabs, heavily cut up and triggered vocals, the occasional dub-delay, and of course a lot of background hits and percussion. Add some samples and a lot of LFO’ing on the synths and you’re there.


The release eases in with the instrumental hip hop/breakbeat crossover Colours, on which Ill.Gates proves he can do more that just destroy with synths. A sweet sparkling sample is joined lightly by some low synths and a nice rhodes-like solo in the middle of the track. The groove is already caught good on this track, but since the rest of the album is more synth-oriented it’s followed by the slower but more electronic hip hop-fused banger Irma Vec (ft. Masia One). The beat is simple and hard, leaving room for all the little percussion and bass stabs to bring the funk. The combination of both raps and vocalism on the chorus by Masia One totally completes the track.


These two tracks, together with the glitchy IDM reminiscent Prickles n Goo, are the surprise elements on the album, style-wise. On tracks like Collateral Damage, Eggplantation,┬áThe Skizza and Scratchdisc you’ll find the expected synth-driven cut up breakbeat funk. A definite dubstep sound can be found on Sweatshop and Adaggio For Disney Hall And Coffee Grinder, but like the Pretty Lights guys the vibe is very un-UK.


The album features 3 nice extra’s: the awesomely news-quotes pastchwork Net Neutrality Rantapella, Gates his remix of Miyagi – Heads n Tails, and the original version of Irma Vep which contains a variety of cut-up vocals of Nas – Ether.


As a groundbreaking Ableton fanatic and mentor Ill.Gates has managed to drop an album 4 years ago that still sounds cutting edge today. Compared to the Bandcamp offers we get today, $15.99 might sound a little pricey, but the quality is worth every penny. Facebook here, and Twitter there. Soundcloud here, and 2 clips below.