10 Tracks: The genius of Gonzales
Yesterday I posted the video to Gonzales’ excellent new single You Can Dance. I thought now was as good a time as any for a run through a potted history of Gonzo. As a producer, songwriter, performer and self-proclaimed Entertainist, he’s been involved with some of the greatest (and occasionally silliest) moments in leftfield pop for over a decade.
Click below for 10 videos, featuring Feist, Peaches, Jamie Lidell, James Blake and of course the man himself.
I’ve also put together a slightly longer Spotify playlist, featuring all the tracks below plus a few more gems from over the years.
Gonzales – Let’s Groove Again (1999)
First single as Gonzales, showing that despite subsequent excursions into lo-fi rap (as on 2001’s The Entertainist), he already had a knack for sophisticated, slick pop music.
Gonzales – Take Me To Broadway (2002)
The definitive Gonzo track. From his most complete album to date, 2002’s Presidential Suite, this is as good an intro as any to what makes Gonzales great. References to extra testicles and chest hair abound, along with plenty of goofing around. Should have been bigger than Eminem, but possibly a tiny bit too zany for mainstream tastes.
Peaches ft. Mignon – Shake Yer Dix (2003)
Gonzales has consistently collaborated with, and produced for, Peaches over the years. Here’s an entertaining co-write though, from her second album, um, Fatherf**ker. Right now I’m just pondering how silly I must have looked when I used to play this regularly back when I used to DJ. Anyway…
Feist – One Evening (2004)
Another Gonzo co-write, this time with Feist on her critical breakthrough album Let it Die. An absolute beauty.
Feist – Mushaboom (2004)
More from the same album, this time with added Gonzales backing vocals. Bonus.
Gonzales ft. Jamie Lidell, Feist & Mocky – Multiply (live) (2005)
Gonzales was on production duties for Jamie Lidell’s excellent Multiply album in 2005. Here he is, with all the gang, doing a live run through the stunning title track a few years later.
Feist – My Moon My Man (2007)
Back working with Feist for her 2007 hit album The Reminder, and co-writing the lead single.
Gonzales – Working Together (2008)
Gonzales spent the mid-00s out of the limelight, as a producer and developing an alternative line in instrumental piano music (notably on 2004’s Solo Piano, an album that drew comparisons with Eric Satie and – amazingly – is his best-selling solo release to date). He stepped back up to the mic in 2008 with Soft Power. This lead single showed that he’d picked up a thing or two about writing pop tunes from his time working on Feist albums.
Gonzales – I Am Europe (2010)
In 2010 Gonzales moved into filmmaking, starring in the chess-based Ivory Tower with regular gang-members Peaches and Tiga. This is a total masterpiece, with Boys Noize’s dancefloor production wrapping around Gonzo’s piano and topped off with the most bonkers lyrics of the man’s career so far.
James Blake – Limit to Your Love (2010)
Current critical darling James Blake came to daytime radio audiences’ attention with this rework of a track from Feist’s The Reminder. Another Gonzales co-write, proof if needed of the man’s continuing influence on pop.
Here’s to ten more years…