Gez Varley first came into the limelight as part of the pioneering electronic bleep duo LFO with Mark Bell. Their debut release, LFO, launched in 1990 under the esteemed Warp Records, not only secured a spot in the UK’s top 10 but also witnessed sales surpassing 150,000 copies. This initial triumph was soon followed by their album Frequencies, which further etched their name into the annals of electronic music history with over 100,000 copies sold and is considered a seminal release of the genre. Yet, as 1996 approached, Varley felt an intrinsic pull towards solo endeavors and alternative musical avenues. This led to the birth of his solo identity, G-Man, under which he would collaborate with prominent labels such as Force-inc, Warp, K-7, Gigolo Records, Sonic Groove, and Swim Records. On Friday, October 20, Control Club welcomes G-Man to grace its own hallowed decks.
Varley’s transition from LFO to G-Man began to take shape around 1995. This was when Swim Records, having had a previous collaboration with LFO, reached out for a remix project. The outcome was twofold: remixes from Gez as G-Man and Mark as Fawn. Concurrently, Gez made a strategic move, providing Swim with a compilation of G-Man tracks. The techno banger Quo Vadis undeniably stood out on this compilation. Recognizing its potential immediately, Swim embarked on the journey to the first G-Man EP.
With its stripped-back yet contemporary sound, the EP quickly garnered attention from industry giants like Richie Hawtin, Claude Young, and Jeff Mills. This universal acclaim led to the release of G-Man II, further elevating Varley’s status as an in-demand solo producer. Aside from becoming a staple among DJs, these tracks found their way into numerous compilations, with renowned names from Andrew Weatherall to Daft Punk featuring G-Man tracks in their sets. Moreover, his influence wasn’t restricted to the musical realm. His tracks found their way into computer games and international ad campaigns, including those for Xbox and commemorating the 30th anniversary of the VW Golf.
By the mid-’90s, particularly in 1996, G-Man was no longer a fledgling project but a matured musical entity. This was marked by the release of the Kushti album, which presented a minimal mix approach with intricate digital layers. Further albums like Avanti(Force Inc, 2002) and The North is Protected (Self-Released, 2001) under the G-Man alias and others like Presents Tony Montana (!K7 Records, 1997) and Bayou Paradis (Force Inc, 2001) under his own name showcased his versatility, with influences ranging from soaring Acid to Dub Techno.
1997 witnessed a diversification of the G-Man sound, leading to the inception of its sub-label within Swim, G Records. This label featured diverse talents, from Swiss producer DJ Fallovie on G1 to the renowned Japanese w-moon from Metrojuice crew on G2. Leeds-based shoota graced G3, while G4 showcased the maestro G-Man himself. Amidst managing his label, Gez continued to remix tracks, lending his unique touch to artists like Radiohead, Art of Noise, Afrika Bambaataa, Laurent Garnier, and more. By 2000, Varley added the GMR Records imprint to his stacked itinerary of activities.
Throughout these formative years, Varley’s ability to adapt and innovate remained at the forefront of his creative ethos. He continued to lend his unique touch to various tracks, remixing for artists like Malka Spigel and Vapourspace. His performances spanned across global venues, captivating audiences from Nature One in Germany to Sonar in Barcelona to Berlin’s techno mecca, Berghain.
Now, with over three decades under his belt, G-Mans influence in electronic music is undeniable. With a staggering worldwide records-sold tally approaching one million, his legacy is a testament to success and an undying passion for the craft. And with a new hypnotic album, Cosmic Shores, G-Man’s journey serves as a beacon for budding artists and a nostalgic trip for those who’ve followed his career.