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Generally favorable reviews - based on 10 Critic Reviews What's this?

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  • Summary: Former 808 State-er Gerald Simpson returns with a follow-up to 1995's Black Secret Technology.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. Essence is the album Roni Size's Breakbeat Era hoped to be, a song-based, drum 'n' bass epic that works on many levels.
  2. 80
    This isn't just pop-inflected electronica: Gerald's compositions evince a depth and artistic integrity rare in albums of this ilk.
  3. Spin
    The sound may be five years old, but Essence's insistence that jungle left something valuable behind back in '95 is a major part of its appeal. [Sept. 2000]
  4. Urb
    The stance on Essence is less confrontational than its precursor, more a life-affirming offering to elemental forces. [#79, p.128]
  5. Gerald's mastery of his own sound and style generally triumphs over his occasional lapses in focus.
  6. An LP of sleek, sophisticated and teasingly soulful tunes. Eerily introverted one moment, warm and open the next, Essence demands attention but makes for an intriguing, rewarding experience.
  7. Infuriatingly sub-standard...

See all 10 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Jun 12, 2022
    If I'm being honest? I'm not a huge fan of album "reviews". Social Media has cultivated an era focusing too much on shared experiences, to theIf I'm being honest? I'm not a huge fan of album "reviews". Social Media has cultivated an era focusing too much on shared experiences, to the point of NOT acknowledging the artistic credibility of truly magnificent works. Don't get me wrong; great art CAN be renowned. But, the greatest and most impactful art, is polarizing in a sense...

    For the large group of people that may disregard it, there's the other, secular group that may have been deeply, profoundly impacted by it. In the case of A Guy Called Gerald's "Essence", consider me the latter. Prior to this album, I wasn't big on "Drum & Bass" nor "Jungle" genres. Not to say that I didn't or wouldn't like them; It's just that the music didn't warrant urgent exploration in my mind. Even if artists from the aforementioned genre's have influenced many other artists and producers, it's not like they're widely celebrated and accessible. "Drum & Bass", along with "Jungle", two genres A Guy Called Gerald pioneered, appeal only to a very niche market.

    Which brings me to this album; This is one of those rare albums that transcended it's genre, or restrictions, in other words.

    It's thought provoking, vulnerable, empathetic, emotional... It is lyrically human, while conceptionally spiritual and universal (Song titles like "The Universe", "First Breath", and "Humanity" help enforce that opinion). But, what makes this amazing album polarizing, however, is how wildly eccentric it is.

    If I had to recommend this album to someone? I would imagine them being a deeply self-aware individual that wears their emotions on their sleeves, for better AND for worse. Someone who rides their "highs" but is fearless in traversing and navigating the "lows". They may do drugs/psychedelics in their personal life, while being able to maintain a pristine professional image. That is essentially what this album personifies; The navigation of the spirit, as they navigate the physical world, making sure not to sever their connection from the Essence of God. This album is a true work of art; The kind that several people would walk past noting it as insignificant... But, that one individual would stop, take a glimpse, and then suddenly breakdown and cry. This Gerald individual is certainly more than just A Guy if I'm judging by this album.