Category_Collecting, Category_Groovy Stuff, Category_Horror, Category_VHS, Category_Weirdness -

Out-of-print and Awesome: Chicago-based GATEKEEPER commits their music to VHS!

On one of my countless travels through the labyrinthine landscape that is the world weird web, I recently stumbled upon the horror-influenced, Chicago-based electronic duo GATEKEEPER. Really, it was the incredibly rad artwork for their album Giza that initially grabbed my attention (see below); but after listening to a few tracks and poking around through their history, I found that they not only have an affinity for horror movie scoring of yore and bring it hard with their sound, but they’ve also unleashed a super-groovy VHS tape featuring a collection of their videos. But before we delve into that slice o’ analog awesomeness, perhaps we should explore a little more of what makes GATEKEEPER tick…

Looks like the lost artwork for an overly obscure Atari game, emulating that idiosyncratic look of surreal, faux-future 80s insanity. Man, you know I dig it.

GATEKEEPER is indeed a pair of retro-revivalists. They’ve sighted influences ranging from Italo disco to early industrial and have channeled their appreciation for early synthesizer-heavy and drum machine-driven horror scores as a foundation for their sound, combining certain undeniable influences with their own musical backgrounds to help shape a new cut of horror-influenced tunage. One half of the 80s-infused equation is Aaron David Ross’s expertise in film scoring and classical inclinations, while GATEKEEPER’s other half Matthew Arkell provides their dark soundscapes with some signature EDM (Electronic Dance Music) sensibilities and nuances. GATEKEEPER, like it or not, is endeavoring to create a fusion of the distinct styles of Golden Age film scoring with contemporary EDM. It’s one curious aural cocktail, but avid fans of horror soundscapes just might find they have a taste for it.

Aaron David Ross on the left, Matthew Arkell on the right. The Invisible Man making a rare cameo.

Ultimately, GATEKEEPER’s music should appeal to fans of the seminal Italian luminaries GOBLIN as the their influence is latent; but realistically, with their heavy synth-driven atmosphere and danceable rhythms, GATEKEEPER’s sound is more akin to the electronically-driven style of the iconic TANGERINE DREAM and Pittsburgh, PA’s Carpenter-esque duo ZOMBI. Fans of these two groups should most certainly give GATEKEEPER a whirl. And now, on to the cardinal reason I chose to spotlight this group: they’ve created a super-rad little VHS release to present all of their music videos, which seem to be equally as surreal and retro as their music. The tape features six videos, including the standout track “Chains” (linked up for your enjoyment!). The videos themselves are mixtures of original animation mashed up with horror flicks (Wishmaster!). Some of the other videos are available on YouTube, but a few seem to be exclusive to the tape, which makes sense and gives the release its own special something.

Clickity-click the image to be thrown into a surreal and groovy 3D overload!

The package itself is just outstanding. Housed in a Rhino-Skin VHS clamshell with center-strip, full-color artwork, they’ve committed their videos to tape with one of the most original and unique VHS cassettes I’ve ever seen: an Archival grade HD video with a laser-engraved face. That’s right: all of the copy on the tape is engraved with no windows – just straight black gold, engraved to perfection. Too groovy, man. It also comes with full-color insert and a double-sided poster, which is a sweet bonus. The down side? They were limited 100 units, and they’re long sold out. However, be that as it may, I simply had to share this incredibly bitchin’ VHS release with all you tapeheads out there so you can add this one to your list of super-awesome rarities that you must obtain. I know I’m on the prowl for one. Get a look at the full package HERE.

This just may be the coolest VHS on earth. If only it was glow in the dark... a man can dream.

Check out GATEKEEPER's other videos on YouTube and read up about their new album "Exo". Groove on, and keep feeding that VCR. It'll never be satiated!

Josh Schafer

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