Brooklyn’s Matthew Arkel (gallerist and curator) and Aaron Ross (producer and performer) segued their Gatekeeper project from horror pop in 2010 to digital phantasia in 2012. Their debut album, Exo, (Hippos in Tanks, 2012) is an interactive, HD, immersive, simulative play on late 90s club and commercial music.
Giza, Gatekeeper’s breakthrough 2010 EP was a detailed period piece that captured “apocalyptic aesthetics” of the mid 80s, conjuring up the eeriest strains of Cabaret Voltaire and the darker shadows of Detroit techno. Each track was based on samples from the soundtracks of obscure horror movies. The duo worked with Thunder Horse to produce the videos that accompanied the release, in VHS format.
The tracks on Exo are reportedly constructed from extremely high-quality samples, leading to it being labelled an ‘HD album’. It is accompanied by a first-person gaming environment in drippingly surreal 3D environment of luminescent alien forests and various dark corners of outer space designed by Tabor Robak, known for his work with artists such as Ford & Lopatin and Fatima al Qadiri..
The duo relocated to New York from Chicago. Aaron David Ross (aka ADR) works as a solo producer and is a member of art-boy-band HDBoyz, which debuted at MoMA PS1 in 2011. Matthew Arkell works as a gallerist and curator in New York City, specializing in contemporary, experimental, and internet-oriented artwork.