More Than a Number
It’s a good time to get into electronic music. Not only do you have a ton of different sub and micro genres knocking on everyone’s door, but there isn’t anything necessarily “bad.” It’s a matter of preference these days. Some prefer the in-your-face “bro” anthems penned by Las Vegas’ EDM elite, or you can let your hair down and get emotional to Scotland’s Chvrches. If there’s a synth, there’s a way. James Blake paved the way for minimalistic dub music, granted dubstep was already a popular party-starter in 2009. German duo, Boozoo Bajou, is known for chilled out dub; it is basically reggae steeped in even more THC. Their latest release, simply titled 4, is a collection of soundscapes and ideas, strewn together in a unique mix.
“Jan Mayen” is a semi-psychadelic, sort of tripped out jazz trumpet solo with ambient crackling and chimes.
It’s almost like the soundtrack to a neo-noir film directed by Robert Rodriguez. It’s spooky in
the sense that it’s sort of an odd track to start with. However, you’ll soon realize it’s not far off from
the “meat” of the album.
Songs like “Kodiak” and “Utsira” maintain the theme of Jan Mayen, a proudly “downtempo” experience, merely
being music you want to listen to when you don’t want to listen to music. It’s not necessarily background
music, because active listening brings out different levels of appreciation with 4. For examople, the drum track on “Kodiak” is almost mathematical with its dub-y time signature and carefully placed triplets. It’s
intelligent music when you want to turn off your brain.
The album ends with Tiefdruck-Hochdruck, a drone-filled, syrup-y mess of tuned percussion and captured
sounds. Perhaps this album fits easily into the Brian Eno family of ambient music, or even Tim Hecker. The
album comes off somewhat moody, but it’s playful if anything. While much more refined pieces have come out of
the ambient music world, Boozoo Bajou’s 4 is definitely a current contender for the most unique listening experience of 2014.