Label: RumorsScore: 7.5/10
One of the more curious LPs to arrive in our inbox in recent times is undoubtedly Guy Gerber and Puff Daddy’s 11 11 album. On the one hand, there’s the enigmatic Gerber, an undoubtedly talented producer who likes to keep his audience guessing with his increasingly diverse sound. And in the other corner, there’s Diddy, an entertainment mogul but a man who’s also put his hand to a series of massive musical moments over the past two decades. But really, the main question to ask about 11 11, is – like all other albums reviewed on these hallowed pages – is, is it actually of any use? And is there a staying power that last beyond the novelety factor?
Well the good news is that there most definitely is. Sure, it’s not an LP for the ages and in all likeliness it probably won’t linger long in the memory once this summer passes, but credit at least is due to both producers for going out on a limb here and taking a few chances. By all accounts, it’s probably Gerber who takes more risks with his credibility than Diddy does, although the Israeli carefully sidesteps such issues thanks to an album that’s full of flair and joyous sounds right from the off. Yes, it’s a bit unusual and off-kilter in places, but what isn’t that what this album should – on paper at least – be all about?
Album opener ‘Never Walk Alone’ gives us a fascinating glimpse of what’s ahead right from the opening few beats. Hypnotic and fast paced, it sets the album’s stall out in a manner that practically forces you to keep listening. From here, the album is a vast cacophony of wild, out-there synths and dreamy soundscapes, and they don’t come much better than on ‘Broken Windows’; a track that owes more to Gerber’s penchant for the unlikely than Diddy’s knack for a hook or a bassline.
That said, the album is most definitely a collaborative effort, and there are tracks here that wouldn’t even sound misplaced alongside a Biggie vocal. ‘Angels’ is my own pick of the litter. A truly glistening piece of contemporary disco, its fiery vocals add a real sense of purpose to the overall listening experience, wrapping us in a warm haze that’s easy to embrace. There are numerous other similarly inclined numbers, but the LP really hangs together due to the ying/yang dynamic, and you won’t be shocked to learn that a series of Gerber’s more ominous productions (especially ‘Tourist Trap’) play similarly pertinent roles. Warm house grooves that are perfect for this time of year, there’s little to be left disgruntles about here. And what’s more, it’s being offered up as a free download too. Gerber and Puffy…bad boys for life.