When Gerber Met Diddy: A Review of the Collaborative and Genre-less Album 1111
Rumors surfaced as early as 2009 of a possible Guy Gerber / Puff Daddy collaboration. Gerber, is an Israeli DJ and gloved prince of the contemporary underground house scene. Sean Combs / P. Diddy / Puff Daddy won a Grammy for 2004’s “Shake Ya Tailfeather” and is worth $700 million. In 2012, Gerber told a wild story about being called to Diddy’s New York studio to replicate lost stems from 2007’s “Persona Non Grata” but their session was plagued with technical and scheduling problems. That didn’t stop Diddy from calling Gerber a “genius.” Strong personalities fueled a series of delays, and the two didn’t work together again until a chance meeting at Robot Heart during Burning Man 2013.
Titled 1111 (originally slated for release on 11/11/11), it dropped for free in August on Spotify and because I was heading to Burning Man myself it quickly became an essential on my travel playlist.
For myriad reasons both the underground and rap/pop world has been relatively quiet about the genre-less album. Aside from a hammy documentary and release on Thump, Diddy and Gerber have been quiet themselves. I made it my priority to see Gerber play a mind-melting sunrise set for Disco Knights at Burning Man (hear his entire 2013 set here) and the rumor mill was in full force that morning. A few of us secretly admitted we hoped Diddy would join his collaborator for another playa appearance, at the very least to drop these comically distorted lyrics to “Lifted”:
I been a pimp for a long time /
this money stay on my mind /
ya she’s a bad mutherfuck /
that girl so sharp she gon’ cut you /
I think her flowers are pretty /
if you nasty call me Mister Diddy
But Diddy never showed. And Gerber (who makes frequent appearances in NYC at Verboten where he is also part owner) played a 1111-free set.
It probably doesn’t help that reviews have been mediocre, and that most tracks themselves aren’t eminently danceable. The album’s first track “Never Walk Alone” plods along with an riff unfavorably reminiscent of a beginner’s bass guitar etude. Track #2’s “Angels” teams up with fellow Tel Aviv-ian artist Chaim to cloying results. By the time “Floating Messiah” arrives we get a sense that Gerber and Diddy are finally talking to one another, and personally it’s my favorite on the album. It’s fun to imagine the conversations that took place between these two playboy personalities or the mythology that spawned the lyrics:
you gotta believe in something /
I believe in her
oh you think I’m talking about a woman /
I’m talking bout god /
or a higher being /
whatever you believe in /
but the universal name /
god / god is a woman / woman /
You get the idea from watching the Thump documentary that Gerber and Diddy appreciate but don’t really understand each other. That’s what I love, and the rest of the album unfolds like any decent after-hours party should: with insolvent yet enthusiastic abandon. I’ve listened to the album front to back on planes, trains, and automobiles and continually find little secrets to explore. Similar to Kaskade’s Atmosphere, 1111 exists comfortably in my mind between a high concept and a low consciousness. And that seems to have been their primary intent. In the words of Diddy himself, “Most importantly I want to fuck people up on the dance floor at like 7:30 in the morning. And I don’t want them to have to be on no drugs. Because the music itself will get you higher than a motherfucker.”
Full stream is available on YouTube under an account “Guy Gerber and Puff Daddy.”
This review was written by Evan, one of our newest contributors. Evan is a former classical cellist turned dance and festival music acolyte from Chicago living in Brooklyn, NY, you should definitely follow him on twitter.
(Image via Stoney Roads)