Aptly Named CON FUSION is a Wonderfully Idiosyncratic 10 Song Collection
It’s extremely rare I find an artist as wonderfully weird as Gem FM. With a sound that feels equally comparable to Daft Punk as to Devo, equally inspired by prog rock as by video games, and equally appealing to fans of bluegrass as fans of EDM, Gem FM is about as diverse in influence and output as any artist you’ll find. While a Styxx fan may find themselves drawn heavily to album opener, “Epiphanous Dream”, the very next track feels like something David Byrne and Mark Mothersbaugh may have have recorded together. It’s with that, I present to you the most singular and unique album of the year so far – and a label I doubt it loses by year’s end – Con Fusion.
In the Gem FM bio, musical mad scientist James Freeman describes the act as “a flexible musical entity that may incorporate solo and/or collaborative expression at any particular time” with a goal of “freedom of artistic expression that modern technology now enables more than ever before”. Freeman is just the right type of weirdo to make this all work, too. Diverse sounds and influences is clearly the name of the game here, as Gem FM floats in an out of a plethora of genres in the 10 tracks on Con Fusion. And, while I’d simply label the genre as “electronic” is I were forced to pick just one, it’s an absurd idea to try to describe this album with any standard genre label. With a variety of instruments – both real and created by computer – armed by his side, Freeman is clearly here to laugh in the face of genre conformity.
With a veritable variety hour of fantastically written, extremely fun, and sometimes quite weird music, Con Fusion dropped this week on streaming platforms and can be listened to below. While this fellow weirdo’s favorite tracks are “Hit the Door” (the aforementioned second track on the album that plays like a David Byrne collab) and “Bake the Cake” (an avant-garde art-jazz inspired tune of sorts), you may cling to something a bit different and still be equally satisfied. Listen below or directly on Spotify.