Friday, April 13, 2012

Jang: Jungle Duets

Electronic/experimental/abstract artist Jang presents his second collaboration album as Jungle Duets, a collection of brief, chaotic, jittery and sometime melodic pieces that are centered around organic instrumentation, obtuse lyrics and layers of noise. I am a fan of this type of electronic music so I was excited to explore what Jang had created and for the most part I was not disappointed. Although I am not entirely sure what portion of collaboration the guests on this LP offered within some tracks, clearly everyone’s efforts came together very nicely. Polished production on top of varied rhythms, forceful guitar chords and random synth made me stand up and notice this LP and plug in my headphones. At times unsettling, Jang has a way of pacing the tracks to create a mood across the entire album. It was ambitious and powerful in its structure. Some of the tracks reminded me a bit of early Brian Eno or modern Electro’s such Xiu Xiu with the passion of the explosive sound. Certainly brief on lyrics, usually just a couple verses or a single chorus and typically under 2:00, I felt these tracks could have been fleshed out more , however I understand this music as "Sketches of the jungle" thus the brevity is fitting. I feel greater strength would have come with fuller compositions with more capacity to gel rather than a collection of sounds but following the agenda of Jungle Duets is still pretty satisfying in itself. Lead off track "Rest" w/ Cheer accident had a joyful beginning and some vivid instrumentation. "Something holds my heart" w/ Favors had a polished pace, with its moody but upbeat tone. I thought I recognized some finger piano in the track. Neat vocal effects and excellent synth work helped to keep the energy high. "Psirens of Sinharaja" w/Kavus Torabi was more conventional in its structure with bass/guitar and came across as a fine progressive track. "Lioness" w/ Brent Gutierrez had some spooky lyrics and heavy distorted guitar and a solid break before an acoustic trail off. "Little Birds" w/ Musical Charis had some cool cello and violin in the beginning and upbeat percussion. Electric piano felt mellow but uplifting. "Pet" w/ UH had scorching guitar throughout and a solid rhythm. "Epiphyte" w/Blake Hartshorn blazed with its guitar work and driving percussion while "Emperor Tamarin" w/image over being began with a noisy intro but gave way to avante’ gard synth and acoustic strumming. "Lara’s melody" w/ Lady Lazarus contained a pretty melody and superb ethereal vocals by Lady Lazarus. I also appreciated the synth in this track. "Brachiators" w/Forest feeling was one of the fasted tracks in regards to tempo on the LP and felt like straight ahead techo at times. Hand claps were effective and I dug the Xylophone and electric piano. "Tikbalang" w/NYKDLN was a strange piece with slowed down vocals, bird sounds and jangly percussion which all came together on a positive way. "Nightfall through the trees" W/ Kevin Lan of the Common Men was the most conventional track in terms of song structure. Heavy reverberated vocals were incomprehensible but gave the track a lot of depth along with the scorching guitars and strong melody. Overall, I felt this second collaboration from Jang was a success in terms of choosing interesting artists to work with and strong ideas to fulfill his objective. I would like to see how the style of Jang’s work could be drawn out a bit more with greater composition in regards to both melody and lyrical content. Perhaps the third installment will fulfill my wish.

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