How is it possible that Gerry Read is only 19 years old? While many producers' output is said to harken back to classic Chicago and Detroit, that usually amounts to little more than some vintage drum samples and a vague sense of nostalgia. Gerry Read, on the other hand, has spent 2011 turning out one well-refined house tune after another, assembling a collection truly deep tracks that make the young UK beatsmith sound like a grizzled veteran. "All by Myself" b/w "What a Mess" is his latest offering, the final piece of his trilogy for the Fourth Wave imprint, and another example of the man's baffling musical maturity.
True to form, "All by Myself" is a propulsive house cut that skimps on the melody and leans hard on a thick, somehwat muddy low end. It's dark and dubby, but the song is actually cleaner than the selections offered on his previous Fourth Wave singles, toning down the murk in favor of some legitimate funk, courtesy of both the lengthy vocal and what sounds like an organ sample. Even the drums are lower in the mix, as a repeated cymbal is the most prominent percussive element, aside from the song's crunchy basslines. "All By Myself" definitely sounds like Chicago, but it has nothing to do with acid house; this is much deeper.
Those looking for bigger drums will find them on the single's flip side, as "What a Mess" gets stompy while maintaining the funky feel of "All by Myself." The vocals have been whittled down into an unintelligible warble, but the track still has plenty of soul, not to mention nods to disco and a prominent jazz sensibility via the guitar melody that noodles its way through the proceedings. More than anything, "What a Mess" displays a nice sense of swing, even when—as expected— things get muddy. Somehow, Read manages to weave in dirty and distorted sounds without killing the vibe, and that's what sets his work apart.