feature: gordon voidwell – “bad études”

February 7, 2014

Gordon Voidwell’s latest mixtape Bad Études is some next level shit. The hyper-dense production and ultra-smooth hooks are food for your ears, body, and mind. Click here to download. #SoundCheck 

Words by Nathan Leigh, AFROPUNK Contributor

Art by Emmanuel Maulen

Since releasing his debut mixtape in 2009, Gordon Voidwell has earned a reputation as one of your favorite artist’s favorite artists. Collaborators like Twin Shadow, Chiddy Bang, and Das Racist have sought out Voidwell for his sci-fi alt-funk production and silky melodies. Though he has yet to release an “official album” (what does that even mean anymore?) Gordon Voidwell’s latest mixtape, Bad Études, is some next level shit.

The mixtape is dripping with laser beam synths and chopped up bass lines. While Voidwell’s falsetto and aesthetic beamed in from another universe has earned frequent comparisons to Prince (also the fact that he lives in Minneapolis now), there’s a lot more going on here than Prince-idol-worship. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) Bits of P-Funk, Daft Punk, Talking Heads, Justice, J Dilla, and Portishead spin around in this thick stew of dopeness. Gorden Voidwell has yet to find a drum hit that didn’t need extra reverb, turning the effect practically into an instrument in it’s own right.


Where a lot of records these days with obvious 80’s retro appeal exist more as wishful exercises in time travel, Bad Études feels firmly focused on the future. Album highlight “GF Jeans” builds on giant squiggly synth stabs and synth drums, but pushes them into glitch and electro-funk territory. (I refuse to use the term nü-disco. I just won’t.) Similarly “XO Boyfriend” nods in the direction of the 80’s before running headfirst into ADD-riddled self-deconstruction. Over it’s glorious 17 tracks, Voidwell chases his muse in strange and compelling directions. It’s the rare record that rides the line between danceable pop and mind-bogglingly complex production. This is food for your ears, body, and mind.