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Jacques Greene - Fantasy Music Album Reviews

Jacques Greene - Fantasy Music Album Reviews
The Montreal producer sounds liberated on his latest EP, an idealized evocation of the club made up of fleeting breakbeats and ribbony synths.

On 2019’s Dawn Chorus, Montreal producer Jacques Greene preached salvation on the dancefloor. Murmuring over a pulse-raising backdrop of classic acid, featured vocalist Cadence Weapon likened a night at the club to a church service, sketching out a familiar trope in vivid terms: outstretched hands, primal chants, beams of light illuminating the faithful. “At night service/Saturday mass,” the Toronto rapper intoned, seeing a vision of eternity in a 4/4 beat: “All the nights with stained glass/In the future, see the past.” It made for a stirring encapsulation of what draws people to seek ecstatic communion before the DJ’s pulpit, weekend after weekend. The future that the two musicians didn’t see coming, of course, was the plague on the horizon, one that promised to leave no place of worship—whether temple or discotheque—untouched.

The sudden loss of one’s congregation can occasion a crisis of faith. Greene’s Fantasy EP, his first significant body of new work since that 2019 album, is pitched as his attempt to seek solace in the spiritual wilderness. In a note accompanying the record, he writes of anxiety and loneliness; of wrestling with the restlessness he experienced in the unexpected quiet, “willing a form of peace and inspiration into my surroundings.” In practical terms, you might expect his search to have led him far from his habitual stomping grounds. In fact, these five tracks aren’t all that different from what we’re used to from the veteran bass musician: They’re grounded in breakbeats and rumbling low end, garlanded with ribbony synths and vocal samples. But the new material also feels strangely unburdened, as though perhaps, newly freed from the pressure of satisfying the dancefloor’s needs—Is this kick drum punchy enough? Is this synth hook sharp enough?—he was liberated to simply follow his instincts.

The opening “Taurus” is representative of this newfound lightness of spirit. Dawn Chorus could occasionally feel heavy-handed, weighed down by its own desire for transcendence. But this song’s groove positively glides, chopped and reversed breakbeats carving shapes like a skater on a frozen lake. Suffused in wordless vocals and shimmering pads, the whole thing radiates a rosy glow. None of it is particularly new; in both tone and technique, it’s strongly reminiscent of Aphex Twin’s classic “Xtal.” But it’s immaculately produced and mixed, and profoundly effective—both for the pleasure centers it fires, and also for the associations it triggers. It feels like a genetic memory passed down across generations of ravers, encoded in their very DNA. Whether or not you’ve ever waded across a muddy field at dawn while jungle breaks test the limits of a towering soundsystem, Greene’s idealized evocation of the scene feels intimately familiar.

“Memory Screen + Fantasy” takes a more sedate tack, smearing shoegaze chords over a slow, shuddering house beat, and running coos through an effect like a busted guitar amp. Toward the end, the tempo kicks up a gear or two; even in the absence of drums, syncopated chords pulse in anticipation—a crescendo in search of a climax that never comes. The pastoral “Relay” might be the simplest and sweetest of the bunch: Arraying layers of shimmering synth pads atop a snapping electro groove, it’s another pitch-perfect homage to early Aphex. “Sky River,” on the other hand, conjures images of apocalyptic grandeur, like a leather-clad Imperator Furiosa striding out of a cloud of crimson smoke on a quaking desert plain, even as guest singer Satomimagae’s ethereal Japanese-language vocals lend an airy touch of grace.

Even in good times, Greene’s style of bass music has always had a melancholy tinge to it, and the closing “Leave Here” feels particularly bittersweet. Like the best of his output, it’s marked by strong contrasts—between the forceful, almost sludgy bass, nimble percussion, and airy vocal loop fluttering above. Evoking Burial, it feels like an attempt to recall a fading memory of raving, to capture a sensory epiphany in the fleeting interplay of breakdowns and bass drops. As fantasies of the club go, it’s as vivid as they get; all that’s missing is the bodies and the room.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Jacques Greene - Fantasy Music Album Reviews Jacques Greene - Fantasy Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Monday, February 07, 2022 Rating: 5

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