- You know that feeling when you meet a friend you haven't seen for years and it turns out that they've changed superficially, but deep down they still have the same qualities that attracted you to them in the first place? That's exactly how I feel about Gerd, real name Gert-Jan Bijl. The Dutch producer occupied a special place in my record collection during the '90s with releases like the timeless techno of "Arkest's Blaze" and the widescreen breakbeats of his Sensurreal project with Dirk-Jan Hanegraaff. While Bijl's Amplified Orchestra alias has produced some decent nu-disco and his Literon guise was responsible for one of the finest techno records of recent years—the eerie robo-bass of 2006's "Machines"—it's under his Gerd alias that his trademark charm and musical goofiness resurfaces.
"Friendly Fire" sees him favour a more house-based approach than usual, with stripped back rhythms and blips and bleeps underpinning nagging, dubbed out drums and the kind of spacey, filtered hook that, while cheesy, is irresistible. Gerd has achieved that most difficult of tasks, creating a summer anthem that will appeal to the furrowed-brow techno intelligentsia as much as it will to a sun-loving mainstream house audience. Despite this, the inclusion of "Vibration" shows that he had no plans to milk it and knock out countless, identical tracks. Just as spacey as "Friendly Fire," its layered synths are more austere and the arrangement reaches a sinister denouement thanks to a raw, throbbing bassline. Irrespective of whether he is walking through the light or staying the shade, on Friendly Fire, Gerd's endearingly offbeat disposition remains a constant.
A Friendly Fire (Extended Mix)
B1 Friendly Fire (Dub Mix)