Sunday, 20 October 2013

Album of the Week #1

Artist: Jackson and His Computerband
Album: Glow
Year: 2013
Label: Warp Records

Back in 2005, Jackson Fourgeaud, a contemporary of Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo (you might know them as Daft Punk), finally released his debut album Smash, having been a regular on the growing French house scene since the mid to late 90s. Eight years later, in the same year that Daft Punk made a glorious return to the charts with the wonderfully eccentric Random Access Memories, Fourgeaud finally released his second album under the pseudonym Jackson and His Computerband.

Now this isn't to say that the two acts should be compared, contrasted and used as benchmark in any case- Glow is an unpredictable, frenetic and wild collection of 12 songs that draws on influences on styles even greater than those of the aforementioned French house heavyweights and deserves plenty of praise in it's own right.

It's the sort of album you can sit at home on a Sunday evening enjoying (as I am right now) just as much as you would on the dancefloor on a Friday night. Fourgeaud calls upon the guest vocals of Natas Loves You, Planningtorock and Anna Jean on four of the songs, but generally it's a riotous, lyricless stomp through genres as eclectic as house, rave, psychedelia, pop and dubstep.

Though the album starts off with what you would consider to be fairly straightforward song structures - Blow and the curiously-titled GI Jane even verge on pop music - the album slowly gets whackier and whackier as it reaches the stunning climax of Billy: a trippy, 7-minute long journey through psychedelia and house before a euphoric ending that rivals any album closer this year.

Elsewhere, the furious rave of Blood Bust is a great counterpoint to the two slow-burners featuring Anna Jean: Memory and Vista. Dabbling in 80s funk and pop but always retaining that experimental, electronic edge, More and GTA V's Arp #1 wouldn't be quite as explosive without the mellow efforts sitting by their sides. And that's a testament to the compositional skills of the producer.

It's an album that changes it's style from one song to the next, never remaining predictable yet a natural flow is somehow retained. Clocking in at just over an hour long, it also feels like the perfect length for an album of this nature. There's enough time for things to get weird but even the 7 minute+ songs fly by- which isn't always the case for electronic albums.

Released on the legendary Warp Records, this is undoubtedly one of the top electronic albums of the year and definitely worth checking out if it slipped under your radar. You can stream it through Spotify below. Enjoy!

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