Skiva » Jay-Jay Johanson, COCKROACH 23 sept.

Jay-Jay Johanson, COCKROACH 23 sept.



The rain is pouring down, the mist is swirling, shadows are gone and this time love has packed its bags, forever.

With his emotional nerves more exposed than ever, Jay-Jay Johanson redefines the art of the urban blues. On his

9th album Cockroach, the singer-songwriter drags himself through absinthe melancholia, blissful paranoia, bitter

confusion and the staggering pain of stained memories.

Cockroach is replete with warm beats, heavy drums and peculiar percussions like never before in Jay-Jay’s work.

As such, the album appears the natural sequel to the jazzy voodooesque Dilemma, one of the highlights of his

previous album Spelbound (2011): « Arranging Dilemma was a turning point », Jay-Jay explains. « So much of

what I had created during the last years was built on naked minimalistic ideas, and to bring all these percussions

and drums back into the studio made me want start making the next album immediately and to open up to a greater

intensity ». Here we are.

Not exactly a newcomer to the field, Jay-Jay can boast a rich carreer, spanned by a series of unmistakable sucesses.

The heady Whiskey (1996) that made him break into the musical scene would be quickly followed by Tattoo (1998)

and the now classic Poison (2000). Playing around with slow, elastic beats, adding elements of cool jazz and trip hop

arrangements to a dense personal universe. After Jay-Jay’s first soundtrack, La Confusion des Genres (2001), and

the sound-and-image art-piece Cosmodrome, came the release of his minimalistic electronic album Antenna (2002),

and the sensuous danceable Rush (2005). In 2006 Jay-Jay worked with the Swedish duo The Knife on the single Marble

House from the album Silent Shout, and the same year Jay-Jay calls back the two key musicians on his first three

albums, the drummer and multi instrumentalist Magnus Frykberg and the piano wizard Erik Jansson, to begin working

on the album The Long Term Physical Effects Are Not Yet Known (2007). The album was generally acclaimed his finest

ever, with the singles She Doesn’t Live Here Anymore and Rocks in Pockets. In 2009 Mr Johanson release Self-Portrait

and his second soundtrack to the film La Troisieme Partie du Monde. Spellbound, released two years ago, was

Jay-Jay’s most dramatic and effective musical move since Poison. On Spellbound Johanson edged toward the cool,

detached, singer-songwriter sounds. Stripped down of ornamentation, he still created densely textured, multi-layered

compositions, graceful, elegant and genuinely moving.

Last year Jay-Jay was busy with the writing process and the demo recordings of his new album, but it didn’t stop him

from collaborating with C2C, on Give up the Ghost, from their world wide success album Tetra.

Coincidence, the opening track on Cockroach, is a rhythmic treasure in a pulsating tempo backing up Jay-Jay’s

smouldering voice, while the lush string arrangements add a luxuriant backdrop to I Miss You Most of All. It’s

probably his most beautiful song to date, and again the intricate rhythmic elements are pushed to the front, as we used

to hear it on his three first albums Whiskey, Tattoo and Poison. Jay-Jay sounds relaxed and elegant on several songs,

some of which Hawkeye and The Beginning of the End of Us have a jazzy feel. Some well placed piano,

mezmerizing flute and soothing vibraphone touches further enrich the music, and the unique way the organ and strings

weave around Jay-Jay’s hushed vocals on the mysterious Mr Fredrikson underscores why he has become so popular

with the alternative set. Sad but beautiful songs such as Orient Express and Antidote sound like timeless classics.

Also, the lovely instrumental piece Insomnia only add to the albums magical and spooky ambiance.

17 years after the great debut Whiskey Jay-Jay Johanson still manage to capture our attention with his melancholy

voice singing beautiful melodies, dressed up in mysterious sounds and experimental arrangements full of generous

strings and surprising beat structures. 11 tracks of the same eerie, art-pop melodrama upon which he has built his

repertoire. Subtly crafted from start to finish. Challenging and unpredictable, cinematic and dramatic, Cockroach is

indeed another momentous step in the career of the artist Jay-Jay Johanson.

JAY-JAY JOHANSON – COCKROACH – Release date September 23rd 2013

Skrivet av Skiva | 29 augusti, 2013

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