Joshua Gard aka Figure is an absolute madman. This Master of the Macabre has been haunting our headphones over the past couple of years with his uptempo drumstep technique that permits the listener to ride that narrow margin between rationality and insanity. Figure possesses the uncanny ability to synthesize unique, utterly dark, disturbing sounds, all the while maintaining a certain melodic production method that keeps us coming back time and time again. WE LOVE FIGURE and we aren’t afraid to show it. However, his music still scares the shit out of us, in a good way of course.
Thinking back, it was Josh’s remix to Wonderwall by Oasis that initially reeled us in – hook, line and sinker. If you’ve never had the pleasure of checking out this jam, now is the time. Figure then proceeded to win over our collective ears with his original reworks to classic ghastly anthems like This Is Halloween and the Beetlejuice theme song. It would be safe to say that Josh Gard has an extremely healthy obsession with horror and this is evident throughout each and every one of his productions.
In 2011, Figure homogenized his fixation on the grotesque with his years of production experience to create the first ever album in the Monsters of Drumstep series. This album garnered the attention of many highly regarded DJ’s and earned Joshua a cult following unlike any other in the world of EDM. It was THE soundtrack of Halloween. Since then, Figure has been tearing up the scene with the addition of his “Destruction Series” – a roller coaster ride full of twists and turns through an intergalactic space battle chalk full of inorganic robotic sounds and laser drop synthesizers.
“I just like how artists present a package of something close to an adventure…like a theme park of sound that is an experiment and experience for everyone.” – Figure
Now, with the impending release of the fourth addition to his Monsters series, Figure has solidified a spot amongst the most experienced and talented producers in the business. We had the pleasure of experiencing Monsters Volume 4 a couple weeks before it’s release date and would like to take the next couple of paragraphs to break it down for you Figure fanatics.
Overall, the most impressive aspect of this album is Mr. Gard’s ability to mix up both the tempo and style of each unique composition. Figure opens this concept album with an extremely minimal introductory track titled “Death’s Gospel.”. Throw on a pair of headphones for this one and listen to the eerie creaking of Figure’s haunted house, filled with the whispers of transient phantom beings. The slow and foreboding piano melody will send chills down your spinal column; while distant, impending harmonies raise the hair on the back of your neck. Josh Gard has crafted his own symphony on the primary track of Monsters Volume 4 including resonating strings and brass to top it all off. We love seeing Figure step out of the box to create a quintessentially proper aura to kick off the album.
Next, Figure teleports the listener to “The Crypt”, which features the lighting fast lyricism of Khadafi Dub and possibly one of the most solid drumstep beats on the entire album. This is most definitely one of our favorite tracks. After passing through “The Center of Hell” with co-captains Helicopter Showdown at a rate of 128 BPM, Josh slows it down again with the help of spoken word horror anthologist and radio broadcaster Boris Karloff, who opens with vividly morose mental recollections of suffocating “Nightmares.'” We have noticed that Mr. Gard is particularly infatuated with incorporating old-school horror broadcasts into his productions. They seem rather fitting given the whole monster theme.
When we listen to Figure, we imagine each of his productions as a representation of the mood and imagery associated with the title or theme to that particular song. After listening to “The Giant Eyeball”, “The Blob/The Blob Returns”, “The Living Dead” and “The Devil”, we could not help but associate the sounds we were hearing with an event relating to the title of each track. For instance, during “The Blob”, we envisioned a massive military effort in full force, vainly attempting to fight back against an unrelenting alien foe.
Our absolute favorite track on Monsters Volume 4 has to be “Are You Afraid of the Dark” featuring Lexi Norton. In fact, Figure released this jam on his SoundCloud page a few days ago. The juxtaposition of Lexi’s haunting vocals will taunt you when combined with Figure’s chaotic but all the while melodic signature drumstep sound. A true gem of a track, we’ve been whispering these lyrics under our breath all week long. I know, creepy right?
This is Josh Gard’s finest composition to date. Not only does he traverse through electronic music genres touching on almost every style, Figure also succeeded in creating a horrific atmosphere worthy of his aim. The full-album is set to drop October 15th, just in time for All Hollows’ Eve. We hope this album make your holiday as spooky as it needs to be. Figure will certainly oblige in this regard.