Movement Magazine

Gel Set’s “Human Salad” in AdHoc’s 25 best albums

Thomas Bellflower July 1, 2015
“Gel Set’s debut LP Human Salad reveals a surprising amount of emotional depth and dynamism. Throughout the album’s ten tracks, Laura Callier, Gel Set’s sole operator, swings from resolute solitude and instability to questionable confidence and companionship, all portrayed through a series of rhythmic entanglements and austere, mutant techno. But where Callier’s compatriots of the dark, lo-fi techno world shroud any trace of visible emotion underneath crippling heaps of distortion and gritty low end, Callier leaves everything out in the open, vulnerable to any and all comers. From opener “Phantom’s Ring” to closer “Ether Or,” Callier balances intensely personal, emotionally transparent lyrics and bizarrely humorous, startlingly clever turns of phrase. Tracks like “Forest Floor” and “The Abyss” modernize the tenets of chilled dark wave into sublimely saccharine synth sounds, with the latter besting established bedroom curators of mutant funk like Maria Minerva. But Callier never shies away from reveling in aural oddities either, eschewing pretense for alluringly alien anthems on “Double Vision” (“You say you got six senses? That’s cool. I got ten.”) and “Mi Puta.” All in all,  it’s a mesmerizing debut by an artist with a completely open future.” – Bobby Power (Ad Hoc)

Pre Order

Gel Set – Human Salad LP/CS

(limited edition transparent pink 100 copies)

“For something so reliant on modernity, Gel Set’s ‘Human Salad‘ screams something primal, as likely to plead the fifth as plead for companionship. Who’s guilty and who’s complicit, you or me? Something slithers out from the South Side of Chicago, like that beast towards Bethlehem, its roving eye shining light on perennial abandonment. “If you were here, I’d have nothing to dream of. If you were here, I wouldn’t believe you,” Laura Callier incants on album opener “Phantom’s Ring.” Who is the ever-present “you”? Me? The listener is made conspirator, an added ingredient to Gel Set’s human salad.

There’s something uncannily nerve-wracking about the phrase “human salad,” though, upon inspection, it is not only an appropriate signifier, but an inviting one. Let’s digress, just for a second. A salad gets its strength from variety – the best salad-maker combines colors and tastes to surprise and satisfy the salad-eater. Similarly, Gel Set combines the human experience from Spanish transgression (“Mi Puta”) to a sensorial game of dozens (“Double Vision”). Unexpected? Yes. Undesirable? No. Surprisingly, as the listener immerses him or herself in Laura Callier’s one voice, he or she is made aware of different narrators – how can you make a human salad with only one human, after all? Trust me, we tried.

Tying the record together is Gel Set’s rhythmic mastery – ultimately, ‘Human Salad‘ is easy to dance to. As serious and all-encompassing as the lyrics are, the background music is, to put it simply, fun. This is darkwave at its artistic peak, dispersed in common experience, all the while retaining nuanced affectation and hip-moving backing tracks. This salad shakes!”


1 – Madison, WI at Mickey’s Tavern*
2 – Minneapolis, MN at Secret Service with MSHR*
3 – Grand Forks, ND at Ojata Records*
4 – Missoula at Zootown Productions*
5 – Vancouver at Hindenburg*
6 – Tacoma, WA at Funny Face*
7 – Seattle, WA at Chop Suey*
8 – Portland, OR Fringe Nights Festival*
9 – Northern Cali*
10 – Oakland, CA*
11 – LA Instore at Permanent Records Los Angeles*
12 – LA at The Smell with Nové Můra*
13 – Tempe, AZ*
14 – Flagstaff, AZ at Mia’s Lounge*
15 – Denver at Rhinoceropolis*
16 – Kansas City at Harlings*
17 – St Louis with Wax Fruit + Ghost Ice + Miffany Tinx DJ set*
18 – Milwaukee at Synth Fest
22 – Gel Set Record Release at The Empty Bottle with HIDE + HOGG + Spa Moans (aka Jenny Pulse)

* – with Matchess

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